Memoirs of a Geisha
Pure and simple, this film is racist. It's a film about Japanese culture and the three leading actresses, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang, and Gong Li, are all Chinese. Now, I'm not exactly an expert on Asian culture, but I do happen to know that there's a goddamn difference between Chinese people and Japanese people and I'm sure that if you're Japanese and you go to see "Memoirs of a Geisha" you're probably sitting there wondering what in the hell is going on.Imagine, for instance, a film about Islam made by Jews and starring a cast of all Jews. How about going back to the days of black face and remaking "Roots" but with Rob Schneider as Kunta Kinte? You know, it's just not that hard to have some modicum of respect for other cultures.
To make matters worse, this is a film about whores that tries to pretend it's not about whores. And while it's trying to pretend it's not about prostitution, albeit attractive prostitution, it rather pathetically tries to use euphemisms to cover up what it's talking about. There's a story about an eel entering a cave told to Sayuri (Ziyi Zhang) by her mentor Mameha (Michelle Yeoh). Of course, what she's really telling her is that her virginity will be sold off to the highest bidder and that Sayuri will get the pleasure of having some stranger rape her.
I really don't care if the Geisha's culture was an amazing one. In this context, all that Sayuri can aspire to is to be some slimy dude's sexual plaything. That's the height of personal satisfaction for her. I haven't read the book, but if it's anything like the movie, I can only assume it's yet another one of those overblown bestsellers like "Cold Mountain" or whatever slop Robert James Waller is peddling this week.
Sayuri's satisfaction in life comes down to whether she can get Chairman (Ken Watanabe) to love her. They meet on a bridge when Sayuri is maybe nine and she pines after him her entire life. Predictably, she lands him in the end. Of course, this brings up the issue of a slight age difference (probably 30 years) and the idea that younger women should desire older men. A better ending would have been Sayuri's realization that she need not sell her services to the highest bidder and need not rely on men for anything. Then perhaps, at the end, Chairman could have admitted his love for her and she could have told him to fuck off. That would have been a refreshing and satisfying ending.
I don't care how beautiful something might look on the outside. Wrapping a pretty bow around a pile of dung doesn't make it smell any better.
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