Originally made in 1953, A GEISHA did not make its way to the US until 1978 and, like the majority of Mizoguchi's work, has remained virtually unknown to American filmgoers. A thoughtful and subtle look at the changes going on in Japanese social attitudes, the film examines the friendship
between two geishas, upholders of the ancient Japanese tradition that lost considerable dignity as a result of WWII. Kogure plays the passive elderly geisha who has agreed to train the young Wakao in the secrets of her art, but when the younger woman's romantic vision of her role is belied by
reality, she opts out. Much of the focus is on the developing relationship between the two women, as their combined recognition of what the geisha has degenerated into becomes a force that binds them together. The younger Wakao has the choice of changing her direction, while Kogure is forced to
remain with the only thing she knows.
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