A Geisha
(Gion Bayashi)

Screening on Film
Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi.
With Michiyo Kogure, Ayako Wakao.
Japan, 1953, 35mm, black & white, 84 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.

Closely focused on the apprenticeship and coming of age of a teenage geisha in post-war Kyoto, Mizoguchi’s lesser known late masterwork offers a more lyrical and sympathetic vision of Japan’s ritualized “floating world” as a fragile safe haven where unmarried women can find a degree of freedom, and even dignity, not possible in the outside world. Yet, although A Geisha’s young heroine struggles to define geishadom in her own terms, Mizoguchi’s heart-rendering story makes clear the difficult struggle for geisha, and Japanese women in general, to achieve stability in a mercenary and machismo world.

Part of film series

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The Tales and Tragedies of Kenji Mizoguchi