(aka 'Yokiro' or 'The Geisha')

Directed by Hideo Gosha
Japan 1983

 

Yokiro was the most successful Geisha house in Western Japan during the first half of the 20th century, and remains open to this day. At its peak, it was home to over 200 geisha, but behind the glamorous facade, there were many battles - between family members, men and women, and with the Yakuza.

Momowaka was sold to Yokiro at age 12, and despite being the top geisha, her many complicated relationships provide unending challenges throughout her glamorous but turbulent life.

Winner of 9 Japanese Academy Awards!

Poster

Theatrical Release: September 10th, 1983

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DVD Review: Animeigo - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Animeigo - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 2:23:55 
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.7 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 Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English (dialogue in yellow or white), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Animeigo

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Image Gallery
• Text Notes
• Trailers

DVD Release Date: February 10th, 2009

Keep Case
Chapters: 18

 

Comments:

This is a dual-layered, anamorphic and progressive transfer. I believe there is a French DVD of the film (no English subs) but I don't own it to compare. From a few stills I've seen it may be superior. The transfer on this Animeigo looks soft but I didn't find it fatal and was able to enjoy the film - a kind of soapy, well shot, Japanese drama with the Geisha profession as a backdrop to a past, torn, love affair. In the image there are speckles and colors seem dim - which I'd actually prefer to boosting. There is a black border circumventing the frame limiting horizontal resolution. Audio is an unremarkable 2.0 track that is probably close to the way it was produced. I think its great that this multi-award winning Japanese film is being exposed to western audiences via DVD.

Animeigo are big on offering subtitle options (see our comparison of their DVD of Imamura's Ballad of Narayama, Ichikawa's An Actor's Revenge or review of Gosha's The Wolves.) and you get a choice of dialogue in either yellow or white (or just captions). I prefer white but both fonts are large.

As I said about Animeigo's The Wolves DVD - "As far as supplements go - it's a bit like a blowfish trying to puff up and represent more than truly exists." In actuality it is quite limited with some static text screen notes (cast + crew, a 'Geisha' description, program notes) - there is some good info here but, personally, I'd have preferred it all in some liner notes. A decent image gallery with both color and black and white shots from the film. Finally there are some trailers.

I liked the film experience and I can see why it was lauded. Like many Japanese narratives there is honor and death at the root. It can lay it on a bit thick but those keen on Japanese cinema should also enjoy the intrinsic merits of the film. The DVD, despite its weaknesses, supports The Geisha well enough to appreciate the story.  

Gary W. Tooze

 



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Distribution Animeigo - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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