Sunday, January 29, 2006

Memoirs of a Geisha, the Movie

Called Sayuri here, it has to rank as one of the worst films in years. I read the book years ago, but can't remember many similarities with the film, but some people say it was at least similar. I think it was an Americanized fantasy of something---what, I don't know..

This film was being called controversial when it opened here because, supposedly, Japanese were complaining that non-Japanese actors were being used to portray Japanese. However, no Japanese who I have spoken to has ever heard of such a controversy, although that doesn't prove it to be untrue. The people who were pushing this must have been connected with trying to promote the movie. Even one of the New York Times' Japan-based financial reporters wrote an article about this.

If it's true that Japanese should play Japanese roles and no others, especially Chinese should, then I guess British actors could not play an American-born character, nor could a German play an Italian.

The Japan in the movie was nonsensical (e.g.,the sumo match which seemed more like something from a "Rocky" movie), but that isn't the main problem. It was simply a poor, noisy soap opera about a catfight.
But, many people liked this movie, including a lot of Japanese whom I have spoken to. Others don't: see the post; Reality or Reality in Movies.

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