In post-war Japan, sixteen-year-old Eiko seeks out the geisha Miyoharu in the district of Gion, in Kyoto asking her to be a maiko (geisha apprentice). Eiko explains that her mother - who ...
See full summary »
Hatsuko Umabuchi is a widow who runs a prosperous geisha house in present-day Kyoto. Her daughter Yukiko returns from Tokyo following a failed suicide attempt, after her lover found out ... See full summary »
Shinnosuke is introduced to Shizu as a prospective wife, but he falls in love with her widowed sister Oyu. Convention forbids Oyu to marry because she has to raise her son as the head of ... See full summary »
In 8th-century China, the Emperor is grieving over the death of his wife. The Yang family wants to provide the Emperor with a consort so that they may consolidate their influence over the ... See full summary »
Special Forces commander Captain Tadamori returns to Kyoto after successfully defeating the uprising of pirates in the western sea of Japan. But because the high courtiers dislike career ... See full summary »
Ishun is a wealthy, but unsympathetic, master printer who has wrongly accused his wife and best employee of being lovers. To escape punishment, the accused run away together, but Ishun is certain to be ruined if word gets out.
Set in post-war Japan, The Lady of Musashino tells the story of Michiko, a disillusioned young woman trapped in a loveless marriage. She confides in her younger cousin, Tsutomo, and the two become close.
Young servant girl Hamako has just started working for her personal heroine, Madame Yuki. Her romanticized view of the Madame is broken immediately, as she is introduced with a list of the Madame's personal problems.
Utamaro, a great artist, lives to create portraits of beautiful women, and the brothels of Tokyo provide his models. A world of passion swirls around him, as the women in his life vie for ... See full summary »
In post-war Japan, sixteen-year-old Eiko seeks out the geisha Miyoharu in the district of Gion, in Kyoto asking her to be a maiko (geisha apprentice). Eiko explains that her mother - who was a geisha and Miyoharu's friend - has just died, her father Sawamoto has failed in business, and her uncle is harassing her. Miyoharu is a warm-hearted woman and accepts to train her. One year later, Eiko's father refuses to be her guarantor and Miyoharu borrows a large amount from the tea-house owner Okimi to buy her kimono and debut in a party. Miyoharu changes Eiko's name to Miyoe and introduces her to clients as her sister. Soon, Miyoharu is charged for the money but neither she nor Miyoe want to have patrons.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Brian McInnis
There may be an element of atonement in Mizoguchi's films about exploited women. It is most powerful in "Street of Shame" but plays a role in "Gion bayashi" as well. The exploiters are bad indeed, though Mizoguchi gives them humanizing motivations; the exploited, while not too good to be true, are much better than most of the people I know.
What makes this visually beautiful film unforgettable and worthy of repeated viewing is, first, the evolving relationship between Older and Younger Sister, which is sufficiently imitative of life to satisfy the most rigorous champion of Kurosawa's "Lower Depths." As life happens, these two women evolve. It is this evolution which is the secret heart of "Gion Festival Music." Second, importantly, it is the nuanced, understated, but heroic performance of Michiyo Kogure as Miyoharu. Her artistry becomes manifest when her character portrait here is compared to her equally successful role of Taeko in Ozu's "Flavor of Green Tea over Rice," made the year before. The two women could not be more different, and she accomplishes the differences with bare flickers of change across her face and almost imperceptible alterations in body language.
These qualities inspire me to forgive the overly schematic plot and excessively contrasting portraits of the very good and the very bad.
At the end "Gion Festival Music," "A Geisha," or whatever title translation one wishes to use, is not principally about the cruel exploitation of women. The film has a secret. It is a love story. And I love this movie.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this