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Friday, March 10, 2006


Geisha under directors' gaze

The Steven Spielberg-produced "Memoirs of a Geisha" may have just walked away with three Academy Awards, but it left some cinemagoers, including many in Japan, underwhelmed.

News photo
Kenji Mizoguchi's "The Woman of the Rumor"

Long before that film, titled "Sayuri" in Japan, directors here had often chosen the "exotic" world of geisha as their subject matter. Seven such films will be screened as the Japan Foundation Film Series presents its fifth program of English-subtitled prints of classic Japanese cinema. The series, titled "The Masters' Gaze on Women in Hanamachi," takes place at the Japan Foundation Forum in Tokyo, March 17-19.

Hanamachi is a district where various forms of pleasures were provided by women, as entertainers, owners of tea houses or prostitutes. The films in the Japan Foundation Forum's latest series, all of which were made between 1951 and 1973, focus on women working in hanamachi. One of the films is Kenji Mizoguchi's Kyoto-set mother-daughter drama "The Woman of the Rumor" (March 19, 1:30 p.m.) from 1954. Mizoguchi, who also directed "Sansho the Baliff" in the same year, is well-known for his accurate portrayals of women.

Tickets per screening are 600 yen, only available at the door. Screenings take place at the Japan Foundation Forum, Akasaka Twin Tower 1F, 2-17-22 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo. For the full schedule in English, visit www.jpf.go.jp/e/culture/topics/movie/fsp5.html

Read more stories on upcoming events:
Dancer brings the supernaturalto creature at bottom of garden
French film festival

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