Tokyo was once a tiny fishing village called Edo. The city owes its rapid expansion to the fact that, in 1603, Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu wanted to found the country's capital at a place that was as far away as possible from the imperial seat in Kyoto. Edo soon grew to become a magnificent city. Anyone passing beneath the Great Gate of the new capital entered a glamorous world of pleasure and recreation. In Yoshiwara, the door-to-door bordellos covered an area easily equivalent to nine football pitches. Nevertheless, the quarter could not be compared to red-light districts of today's cities. The pastimes on offer in Yoshiwara were meant exclusively for wealthy visitors, who were often members of the best families in the land. The brothels were more like salons, presided over by courtesans. Indeed, these salons had considerable influence on the arts, fashions and other cultural proclivities of what is known as the "Edo" period. The women who worked at such places were expected to be as well-versed in music, dance, and parlor games, as in the art of flower arranging. A courtesan in Edo could not be bought, rather, she wanted to be won over, and therefore expected a certain amount of attention, sensitivity, and generosity from the man who conquered her. Edo's ordinary inhabitants eyed everything that went on in Yoshiwara with a mixtrure of envy and distrust. SAKURAN tells the story of one woman living in the lustrous world of Yoshiwara who was determined to stand on her own two feet and live life as she pleased.
Cast & Credits
Setting aside my embarrassment, I watched it at home again without any kids or grannies around.
To be honest, this was the first film that I have appreciated Ando Masunobu in. I've first seen him in "Synesthezia" with Aoi Miyazaki, but I didn't like his character there too much. Here in Sakuran I loved the way he acted as Seiji who was the "keeper" or "care-taker" of the Oiran, (the highest ranking female prostitute in the house) which was eventually transferred to Kiyoha (Anna Tsuchiya). I loved the way she played the hot headed TOP Woman. Even though she wasn't the Oiran yet, she already had the attitude of one. She was spunky and feisty for a woman who lives and breathes the life in a brothel. Though this was her role, her life as an Oiran in the making was bitter and sad, she's witty and beautiful but was kept in a container, thus her life is compared to a goldfish in a bowl.
The story was manga based, so it had a bit of a shoujou-ish plot line going on. Nonetheless, it was a great movie. The ending was just my taste, the setting was perfect and beautiful, as well was the over all cinematography. Everything was vibrant with hues such as red... red... and more red. I think that color has so much significance for this movie. It makes sense that the bright colors used for the film was very appropriate for its theme. The sound track was fit for the whole movie and it has caught my attention so much that I researched about the singer Shiina Ringo and discovered the band Tokyo Jihen, hence I now have the collection of their songs.
I have already re-watched this Movie several times and would re-watch it again in the future.
In the beginning I was like, "Hey, this movie's just like Memoirs of a Geisha" (which I immensely love). I was pretty sure the movie would have a cliche plot and ending. However, sometimes it is INCREDIBLE when the story manages to prove every guess of yours wrong. Although the plot seems somewhat heavy, it manages to stay light because of the memorable, foul-mouthed anti-heroine. Another nice thing about the movie is how it incorporates dark humor and art together. The title 'Sakuran' also has a lot of meaning to it.
Everything about this movie is wonderful- its costumes, sets, cast, story and soundtrack. I honestly couldn't think of anything major to criticize about in this film. The movie is serious combined with funny and yet giving off an artsy vibe. The writing, the performance of the cast and the direction were all pretty solid. The camerawork was quite good too. In spite of an unrealistic-looking surroundings at a couple of places, the movie is great to look at overall.
If you love the culture of Japan, you will love this movie. However, this movie is for mature audiences and so it includes a lot of sexual content. The movie was very, very colorful and pleasing to look at from the first scene to the end.
I actually didn't know anyone in the cast so I had no expectations from them. However, I have to say all of them delivered well. The parts that were played by the leading characters were great. Another awesome thing about the movie is its soundtrack. There was both traditional and modern music used in this film and it suited the mood well.
Lastly, I HAVE to talk about the ending. I just didn't think it would turn out to be the exact opposite of what I guessed. The ending makes the movie very different and not cliche at all. I am not going to spoil the ending for any one so just watch the whole thing for its ending. It will totally be worth the time!!! :D