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
Theatrical Release: November 29th, 2005 - Tokyo (Premiere)
DVD Review: Sony (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
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|Distribution||Sony Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC|
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.
|Audio||English + Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1) , DUB: French (Dolby Digital 5.1)|
|Subtitles||English, French, None|
by director Rob Marshall and co-producer John DeLuca
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.