Sisters of the Gion

1936

Drama

103
IMDb Rating 7.5 10 2,276

Synopsis


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June 15, 2020

Cast

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
638.36 MB
1280*720
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
95 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.16 GB
1920×1080
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
95 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by howard.schumann 8 / 10 / 10

A fascinating picture of pre-war Japan

Considered to be one of the best pre-war films by the acclaimed Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi, Sisters of the Gion is a story of two sisters, both Geisha girls in the Gion section of Kyoto, who have very different attitudes toward men. Umekichi (Yoko Umemura) is traditional and loyal to her patrons while her sister Omocha (Isuzu Yamada) is a pragmatist who uses men to her advantage even if it means deception and lies. Ultimately it seems to make no difference as both girls are trapped in an existence that provides little satisfaction. Running just over an hour, this is a lovely film that presents a fascinating portrait of Japanese life before the war showing streets that look like narrow passageways, elevated tatami rooms used for drinking tea and smoking pipes, and buildings no higher than two stories. In the film, Umekichi is devoted to a bankrupt businessman, Shimbei Furusawa (Benkei Shiganoya) who comes to live with them after an argument with his wife. Omocha is unhappy with this arrangement, telling Umekichi she should have no use for a man who doesn't support them. She convinces an antique dealer Jurakuso (Fumio Okura) to give her money to pay off Furusawa so that Jurakuso can become Umekichi's patron, but she ends up pocketing half of the money herself. On hearing that he is in love with her, Omocha persuades Kimura (Taizo Fukami), a textile clerk, to steal the company's materials to enable her sister to wear an acceptable kimono for a party of wealthy patrons. The destiny of the two sisters reaches its inevitable conclusion when the store clerk is fired and exacts his revenge on Omocha, and when Furusawa suddenly leaves Umekichi to become a manager of a rayon company. While Mizoguchi's film is a protest against the specific conditions of women in pre-war Japan, Sisters of the Gion strikes a universal chord in its compelling depiction of the sad results of treating human beings as marketable commodities.

Reviewed by Meganeguard 9 / 10 / 10

The Dregs

While I have of course heard the name Mizoguchi Kenji, the only films of his that I have watched are Ugetsu (1953) and The New Tale of the Heike (1955) and while I did enjoy both of them, mainly the former, for the most part I did not have a particularly strong interest in watching Mizoguchi's films because at the time I was embroiled within the filmic worlds of Kitano Takeshi, Iwai Shunji, Miike Takashi, etc. However, as time passed my interest in older Japanese films began to increase, so now I am trying to broaden my knowledge of classic Japanese films, especially those that were filmed before 1945 of which I have only seen a handful. Mizoguchi is well known in the world of Japanese film, because he was one of the first Japanese directors to put the role of women in Japanese society on the center stage. He is often criticized by later film viewers and critics because his women, while strong, only could find true security in the world of men by adaptation to the males around them. However, of course, it should be noted that for his time the films he created were quite different than the casual fare. Like Imamura Shohei, Mizoguchi Kenji tended to make films about those in the lower strata of society and the ways in which the rich can destroy these individuals' lives. Sisters of Gion tells the story of Umekichi and Omocha an older and younger geisha trying to make the best of their lives in a time in which the patronage of geisha is on the downswing. Gentle and kind, Umekichi takes in her lover Furusawa after his business goes bankrupt. She states that she only does so because she owes him for helping her become a full fledged geisha, but it is obvious that she loves the destitute ma. Omocha, young, better educated, and brash dislikes Furusawa because he is sponging off Umekichi and decides that she needs to be rid of him. However, her methods might lead to a bad conclusion. A wonderful film that clocks in at a little less than seventy minutes, Sisters of Gion has a dark theme. Both Umekichi and Omocha, while being of complete different personalities, are both victims of their positions in society. Without a rich patron to depend on, their lives are quite vicarious, and as in the case of Umekichi, as the women get older their positions become even more precarious.

Reviewed by avik-basu1889 9 / 10 / 10

An uninhibitedly feminist film !!!

When reviewing Kenji Mizoguchi's 'Sisters of the Gion', the first and foremost thing that I have to talk about is the film's portrayal of exploited women and their sorry plight. For a film made in 1936, the film is astonishingly progressive. Mizoguchi leaves no stone unturned in showing the viewer how tough the life of a geisha was. The men whom we see engage with the sisters Omocha and Umekichi, though played by different actors are made to look very similar appearance wise and I think that was a specific choice on the part of Mizoguchi. Mizoguchi's approach to telling this story has a distinct boldness to it with a hopelessness simmering underneath. The protagonist Omocha is not a submissive character whose pain and suffering is supposed to convey the message. Instead, she is a feisty pragmatic rebel who played the game the way it is without being obstructed by any sense of morality. The feminist message is supposed to be conveyed by the fact that even fighting the system isn't enough to escape the exploitation and the abuse. These women would still continue to be treated as commodities. What struck me about Mizoguchi's direction and visual style is his meticulous use of space in a particular frame. He sits on a frame, there is very minimal editing and he uses tracking shots quite a bit. He uses the 'frame within a frame' composition(also found in Renoir's films) quite a bit by placing characters in the background while others being in the foreground and pretty much each and every one of these visual choices serves a thematic purpose, be it conveying the difference in mindsets of Omocha and Umekichi or showing a man being lured in by Omocha's manipulation,etc. Another thing I noticed is Mizoguchi's reluctance in using too many close-ups. The close-ups in the film are used very sparsely and economically. Due to its runtime, the film is a little light on character development or backstory, but the nuanced nature of using visuals to tell a story really impressed me. It is clear in its agenda and Mizoguchi is bold enough to express his ideas with conviction.

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