Zhang Ziyi in Memoirs of a Geisha

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slippyepic
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Post by slippyepic » Dec 8th, '05, 01:10

Ironically, few people have talked about the other major racial issue of the film.

From the reviews I've read, the Memoirs of a Geisha movie dangerously veers toward the "orientalization"/white-male-fetishism of a so-called exotic Asian femininty. For what it's worth, I've always found the Western fascination with geisha kinda offensive, because their interpretation of that tradition seems in line with a anti-femininist fantasy of servile, graceful, nonthreathening sex nymphs. Moreover, again from what I've read, the Asian actresses were asked to co-opt a mannered style of English to suggest "oriental" (i.e. You! Geisha! Now! Chopsocky!) difference or otherness.

But, again, maybe the film isn't that way at all. If it were, well I still enjoyed Last Samurai, so hopefully I can get past that.

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vangpire
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Post by vangpire » Dec 14th, '05, 23:20

slippyepic wrote:Ironically, few people have talked about the other major racial issue of the film.

From the reviews I've read, the Memoirs of a Geisha movie dangerously veers toward the "orientalization"/white-male-fetishism of a so-called exotic Asian femininty. For what it's worth, I've always found the Western fascination with geisha kinda offensive, because their interpretation of that tradition seems in line with a anti-femininist fantasy of servile, graceful, nonthreathening sex nymphs. Moreover, again from what I've read, the Asian actresses were asked to co-opt a mannered style of English to suggest "oriental" (i.e. You! Geisha! Now! Chopsocky!) difference or otherness.

But, again, maybe the film isn't that way at all. If it were, well I still enjoyed Last Samurai, so hopefully I can get past that.
My cousin watched this and that is exactly what she said. She said that it plays too much to the white male's fantasy of the submissive asian woman. Haven't read the book, I'm not really interested in watching this movie at all. I think that if they wanted to do it correctly, the movie should have been starred Japanese actors/actresses speaking Japanese not Chinese/Japanese stars speaking English.

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ebony
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Post by ebony » Dec 15th, '05, 01:10

ive read the book of this so i'm not really sure whether i'd wanna see the film or not?
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slippyepic
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Post by slippyepic » Dec 26th, '05, 22:39

Saw the movie a few days ago and it wasn't all that bad . . .

There's definitely a bit of that white male festishization of "Oriental women" going on with this film; but to its credit, the last 20 minutes does address it. You could see those bits in the film, but they were never sold to the audience as such. In fact, you could say that was one of the big problems with the film, director Rob Marshall didn't seem to know what message he wanted to impart the audience.

Honestly, I'm not sure the director understands film grammar all that well. What makes Chicago work is that, for much of that film, he shot it as if it were an elaborate stage production, and then used the camera as if he was filming the musical. It worked there, but it doesn't here. He's way too in love with the close-up shot, and used surprisingly few master and middle-range shots. Therefore, you neither get a cohesive gestalt of time and place, nor a feeling that people live in these rooms. Instead, people seem squashed by them and cramped into talking with each other.

There's a lot of pretty photography but the lighting was often just bad. It's fine if you want to depict a gritty, dangerous night sequences, but for the love of God, don't make everything into a dull, brown mud with a few misty clouds. And the day sequences didn't really have an eye for color coding, spatial arrangement of camerawork to main characters, etc. It looked pretty but messy and indistinct.

Often, it just seemed the director was content enough to have elaborate sets and then provide footage of women talking with men in cramped spaces. No eye. Poor rhythm in terms of editing. Too much roving camera. And that music, gah!! Oppressive John Williams psuedo-12-Girls-Band crapola. His theatrical training is all over the place; he gives the audience a buffet of visual data to process, but without saying or showing anything specific. So much pretty money, so little poetry.

An Asian TV-series director would have done a better job, but frankly so would James Ivory, Edward Zwick, James Cameron, and a number of other directors who have done pageant films. This is probably one of the worse shot costume dramas I've seen in years.

For me, Gong Li completely stole the show. Her performance was compared to the one she did in Shanghai Triad, but what I saw was an awesome depiction of a raging, cruel but passionate adolescent who becomes a "Queen Bee" and patron. She believably -- physically, emotionally, mentally -- portrayed somebody in her early 20s aging into the twilight of her career. She was a **** goddess who brought the clouds into every scene.

But Zhang Ziyi was great too. She may have a few billion people mad at her, but the otherwise flimsy love story is completely made into a palpable and genuinely moving longing, by her expressive, intelligent physicality. Few mainstream actresses in any country can depict suffering with her limbs, the muscles in her neck, whole body struggling for air like her. And, so, even though her recitation of the English dialogue (Gong Li ripped through her lines with delicious sarcasm) was completely flat, it almost seemed besides the point of what was largely an internal, brooding performance. All longing and suffering and the thinking about how much longing and suffering there needed to be.

The Sayuri dance is almost worth the price of the film. This distills what Zhang Zhiyi can do when she's allowed to use her physical acting skills. And it's IMO the only scene where the director Marshall seems completely in his element, giving Sayuri a kind of glam spin on Geisha with that thick eyeliner and 2-feet platform shoes, and translating idioms of Japanese dance to a sort of modern dance performance. Zhang Zhiyi looks elegant here, but it's all raw feelings up on the stage.

Loved the Pumpkin character. She was the only character whose English accent modulates from the 30s to post-war Japan; she and the geisha matron neatly depicted the cultural storm and latent anger at both the old and new Japan. It's something Gong Li herself has depicted in so many films.

Finally, LOVED the trailer for Sofia Coppola's 2006 film of Marie Antoinette's life. Loved the use of New Order's "Age of Innocence." Loved the vital, New Wave-ish handicam work. Loved the brightness of fireworks sequence. Everything about it transcends the quaint idioms of period film, and yet it makes all of the oldness seem like the best vacation ever. I'm just so excited of the possibility of Sofia Coppola becoming the Wong Kar Wai of today's American film, half in love with New Wave form, and half in love with youth's fashionable sadness.

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raspberihevn
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Post by raspberihevn » Dec 26th, '05, 22:55


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love-at_Dolphin_Bay
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Post by love-at_Dolphin_Bay » Dec 27th, '05, 06:28

Can anyone get the Torrent link for the movie, please share !

Thank you

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Ryuu
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Post by Ryuu » Dec 27th, '05, 06:50

I hope they do make that movie with Adam Sandler. It'd be hillarious to see! Zhang is such a pretty lady. I like her better than Julia Roberts. I like both of them, but I think Zhang has a bit more class. ^-^

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Post by happy=p » Jan 5th, '06, 04:29

i nver saw ur acting...but she is pretty..do u know where i can download this movie?

cuteangelika
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Post by cuteangelika » Jan 5th, '06, 05:56

There's one in asiafinest.com... :)

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miss_illusive
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Post by miss_illusive » Jan 6th, '06, 02:51

i think that zhang ziyi in memoirs of a geisha did an excellent job

but i do believe that the story if you didn't read the book didn't "flow" that well

her actions in the movie don't connect as well

and the reason of her loving mr. tanaka is not shown clearly

in the end she just ends up leaving with him which is just absurd to the while story

but i do believe that she did an good job in house of flying daggers .

it was such a sad story ,,, ><

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Post by amrayu » Jan 8th, '06, 11:28

I enjoyed this movie. It was very pretty to watch. :-)
Zhang Ziyi gave a great performance but her english didn't seem natural. I guess she is still feeling a little bit uncomfortable speaking in english. Gong Li's english flowed with her performance and so did the Okaasan's. I love Okaasan's voice!
Overall, I enjoyed watching the movie but the storyline was a little bit weak.
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Post by jellybean » Jun 15th, '06, 21:48

I actually thought Zhang Ziyi was the weak link in the movie - I thought she was terribly miscast - she could elicit no sympathy from me at all due to her common cast in 'cold roles'. Physically she was perfect - her face is aesthetically beautiful but she lacked the charm the younger Sayuri portrayed (she was so cute!).

Everyone else was a perfect fit - Gong Li definitely stole the show and I think she was definitely succesful in transcending the whole 'only a Japanese actress could have played the role' - Gong Li completely owned the role. MIchelle Yeoh was okish...she was the medium between Gong Li and Zhang - sometimes she was good but sometimes I got too many flashbacks of her in a Martial arts role.

Ken Watanabe was excellent - did anyone else fall in love with him as well as Sayuri?I certainly did (check the hot japanese guys section haha) :P He was so charming and lovely haha but he had that mysterious aura about him too. Not a lot of actors have this but Ken definitely does.

Nobu was one of my fave characters - so complex and well acted.

The film was a big ball of fluff to be honest - but it is a Hollywood movie - I don't think anyone wanting an accurate slice of culture that is poignant in meaning and mood should veer away from this film. This film in total - is an unoriginal love story that relies heavily on thick make up and stunning costumes.

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