Memoirs of a Geisha: Hollywood at its Best

After reading a Finanical Times article several days ago, I read something rather interesting. Essentially, Steven Spielberg casting choices in his new movie
Memoirs of a Geisha is causing quite a stir. The
movie, based on the book of the same title, depicts
the secret lives of Japanese Geisha's. Spielberg
nonetheless decided to cast Chinese women in lead roles instead of Japanese.
Some consider the discrepancy to be tantamount to
using an Israeli cast to depict the everyday struggles
of Palestinians. I am not recommending the film. I
would hate for the public to be misinformed and leave
the theater thinking that they have just viewed a
factual historical period piece.

There are other issues concerning this film but I may or may not address them later.

Additionally, Spielberg is the producer of the film not the director.

Peter Duhon


Anonymous said…
Pete, you have a good point. However, I believe that when it comes to the art of acting, any person can portray another race.

Just think about it, there has been many occasions when someone of another race has portrayed a character, especially in theater.

I think if you allow your mind to become absorbed in the story and not so much the person who playing the character, then a movie or play can be just as effective.

Though I can see what you're saying because the two cultures have had issues with each other, then it doesn't seem right but overall, I don't think that it will make a difference in a good movie.
Pete Duhon said…
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Pete Duhon said…
The inaccuracies in this film are many and those inaccuaracies betray history. It is fine to see the film albeit with the understanding that it is purely sensationalized and ficition.

1. Not only is the lead charactor Chinese but she also has blue eyes. very interesting.

2. The actual hair styles of real geisha have been changed as well; long, loose and free-flowing. "more reminisicent of those seen in Chinese films also starring Zhang, Li and Yeoh." andrew lang, financial times

3. Even the dance style of the geisha is protrayed different from reality; it is faster and more dramatic: hollywood at its best.

4. In Japan, the film is simply titled "Sayuri," obviously hollywood felt it would be even more insulting to name it "memoirs of a geisha" since it is anything but that. LOL

It has been said before that it is difficult if not next to impossible to create art for the masses. Rather, mass marketing often dilutes art so that it can be made to appeal to so many people. Some chose profits over art. Considering the pressures to make a 50 million dollar profit instead of 10 million, I sympathize with the producers and directors of this film(smile).

So hey, if you see it, enjoy it. I am sure it is a great movie. But it just doesn't represent geisha in anyway. But that of course doesn't mean that the film will not be enjoyable. I champion awareness and I just wanted everyone to know the real deal.

sherazade said…
That is a very good point, excellent actors can portray someone of another ethnicity quite effectively. After all, taking on another's character is certainly what actors do.
Pete Duhon said…

Have you seen the film? Just wondering. Actors do take on different characters and that is true.