Directed by Rob Marshall
USA
2005

 

  In 1929 an impoverished nine-year-old named Chiyo from a fishing village is sold to a geisha house in Kyoto's Gion district and subjected to cruel treatment from the owners and the head geisha Hatsumomo. Her stunning beauty attracts the vindictive jealousy of Hatsumomo, until she is rescued by and taken under the wing of Hatsumomo's bitter rival, Mameha. Under Mameha's mentorship, Chiyo becomes the geisha named Sayuri, trained in all the artistic and social skills a geisha must master in order to survive in her society. As a renowned geisha she enters a society of wealth, privilege, and political intrigue. As World War II looms Japan and the geisha's world are forever changed by the onslaught of history.

***

Overall I was left unimpressed with this film. It was really devoid of any substance seeming to put too much energy into the visual splendor (Dion Beebe's cinematography). A beautiful film to watch but essentially it is hollow. I could watch Ziyi Zhang, Michelle Yeoh and Gong Li all day but a decent narrative is still an imperative.

Gary W. Tooze

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 29th, 2005 - Tokyo (Premiere)

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DVD Review: Sony (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Sony Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 2:26:20 
Video 2.40:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.22 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English + Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1) , DUB: French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles English, French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Sony Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by director Rob Marshall and co-producer John DeLuca
• Production Commentary by Costume Design Colleen Atwood, Production Design John Myhre and Editor Pietro Scalia
• "Sayuri's Other Journey: From the Novel to the Screen" featurette - Novelist Arthur Golden and the filmmakers discuss the 8-year journey of turning the best-selling book into an award winning film.
• "The Road to Japan" featurette - the filmmakers travel to Japan to experience the places in Kyoto that are featured in the book and discuss the challenges of shooting in some of JapanĀ’s most sacred locations.
• "Geisha Bootcamp" featurette - A behind the scenes look at how the actresses learned the art of becoming geisha.
• "Building the Hanamachi" featurette - Recreating the entire village of old Kyoto in a pasture in Southern California.
• "The Look of a Geisha" featurette - The most famous Geisha were considered to be the supermodels of their time, learn the ancient secrets and modern twists to creating their hair, makeup and wardrobe for the film.
• "The Music of Memoirs" featurette - John Williams, Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman discuss the creative process of composing the Golden Globe winning score.
• "A Geisha's Dance" featurette - We'll follow the entire process of staging these dances, from research into authentic geisha dance (illustrated with the archival footage that served as inspiration) through conception, casting sessions, rehearsals, on-the-set rehearsals, filming, and the final version in the movie.
• "The World of the Geisha" featurette - A look at the history of this secret world, from its ancient origins up to the geisha of today.
• "The Way of the Sumo" featurette - Explore the fascinating history of this ancient sport and meet some of today's Sumo Wrestling champions.
• "Rob Marshall" featurette - An in-depth look at Director Rob Marshall
• "A Day with Chef Nobu Matsuhisa" featurette - World-renowned Chef Nobu Matsuhisa discusses his role in Memoirs and shares some of his favorite recipes.

DVD Release Date: March 28th, 2006

Double slim Keep Case
Chapters: 24

 

 

Comments:

I'm almost tempted to say that the extras far outweigh the film itself.

Image quality and audio are excellent. The 5.1 track literally leaps out of your speakers. Colors appears true and vivid - contrast is very strong - detail is sharp. The featurettes are exceptionally good although many are shorter than they could be (most are around the 12 minute mark). The commentaries are thorough but they would have benefited more had the film been of a more... substantial nature. Still, I'm sure some will be keen on the production evolution and technical minutia. I suspect Hollywood and Marshall figured that throwing together some of Asia's most appealing leading ladies combined with exquisite cinematography would have been enough. For me it wasn't, but this DVD is a wonderfully thorough and complete package - we have no complaints with that. 

 

Gary W. Tooze

 





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Distribution Sony Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

Thank You!