A Geisha (Gion Bayashi)
Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi. 1953, 84 mins. 35mm print from the Japan Foundation. With Michiyo Kogure, Ayako Wakao. Set in Kyoto’s Gion district in the postwar period, A Geisha focuses on the student-mentor relationship between an experienced geisha and the teenaged girl who begs to apprentice with her. A stunning actresses’ duet, this is one of Mizoguchi’s most poignant portrayals of the confederation of sisterhood acting as a buffer against a hostile world. Japanese film scholar Donald Richie noted that A Geisha is “filled with sentiment, rather than sentimentality… and the performances are so perfect.”
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