So, I don’t watch all that many movies, particularly in the theatre. And I don’t find many of them worth even mentioning. But this one? Memoirs of a Geisha? This one was worth it.
I “read” the book a couple of years ago. “Read” is in quotes because I actually listened to it on tape and really enjoyed it. Actually, I didn’t think I enjoyed it especially at the time, but then I saw a used copy somewhere and had to buy it. Later, I saw that the movie was coming out and wanted to see it, but forgot about it until I noticed that it was at the dollar theatre tonight. So Anna and Ingrid and I went, and it had the same effect on me as before. If nothing else, the story stays with me, gets in my bones and me blood unlike so many of the stories out there today. It has this undefinable texture that draws me to want to know it better, to handle it more, to slowly explore its depths and secret places. I’m beginning to think that some of the very best things in life are like this–the things that draw me in slowly, the things that it takes time to realize I even like, let alone love and want to become a part of me like my bones and my marrow are a part of me. There’s something of that nature in this story.
The story is haunting; beautiful and real at the same time, so sad that you want to caress something. And there’s so very much pain. Maybe that’s part of what makes it so real–Chiyo’s losses are real, as are Sayuri’s gains. The catfights are real, as is, rather bizarrely, Chiyo’s unusual love and her promise to herself that she will someday find him again. Sometimes, Chiyo is really, really dumb, and you wonder what in the world she is thinking. Sometimes she does what needs to be done but does it all rather poorly. But sometimes, occasionally, she has one of those glorious, shining moments when everything comes together and I want to cheer because I just want it all to go well for once. And it does. And it doesn’t. And it does again. But the good isn’t all good, and the bad isn’t all bad. There is loss in triumph and triumph in loss. It always comes around to that. That, too, makes it real, I suppose. Asian art seems to capture that really well, to not try to force me to make that good/bad split that Western art (particularly contemporary Western art and, of that, particularly film) tries to make. I think that’s a cultural good, that acceptance that life is very rarely going to be all one thing. And yet, without God, it’s so pessimistic, so pain-filled, so depressing and sad. We make the split because we know, somewhere and somehow, what we were made for, and we don’t know how to live without it.
Ok, so I’m not really posting about the movie, but about myself. Which, rather ironically, is part of why I like this story so much–it resonates for me on levels below the surface, beyond what I know I’m thinking. It touches and parallels and makes me think, and moves me to understand more about the way the world works. Steven Speilberg truly is a genius.