Sakuran is Delightful Confusion

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A beautiful orphaned girl grows up in a brothel from kamaru to top courtesan amongst female intrigue, jealousy and costumes that demand attention. What’s not to love?

Sakurab maples

If you haven’t seen the 2009 film bringing the Japanese manga artist Anno’s beloved world of the Yoshiwara to life what are you waiting for?

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Kick off your geta, untie your sash this is one spectacular feast for the eye.

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Anna Tsuchiya (Kamikaze Girls) plays Kiyoha, a girl traded to a brothel who undergoes a transformation to reach the top courtesan. But she doesn’t want to be oiran. She’s rebellious. She has a dream to see if cherry blossoms are the same as ones outside of the brothel gates. It might sound simple, but courtesans were rarely allowed to cross the great Omon gate for more than a handful of festival days. But while Kiyoha dreams of a life beyond the brothel, grasping elders see her spirited nature as a sign. This girl will rise as a great oiran. The older, house oiran already fears her as her greatest rival in the making. As she grows the tensions escalate to delicious fun.

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Rivals aside, and who doesn’t love that, the film explores the courtesan’s peculiar state of being. She’s schooled in the ways to please men but for the love of God, thou shalt not fall in love. To take a lover was the end of a courtesan’s career, a hidden trap that could expose her to pregnancy, blackmail and disease. If a man takes a courtesan to bed he must pay for the privilege. To fall in love was a weakness. To give away favors for free was a disgrace. Dismissal was the price to be paid for disobedience and the contract, thousands of ryo, was due and payable to the brothel upon expulsion. Woe to the courtesan who didn’t steal her heart and was wise in the ways of love; who didn’t wait till the time was right for love after her contract was bought out. This is Kiyoha’s down fall and why we love her so much.

Red Sakuran Look back

Will Kihoya get to see the cherry blossoms on the outside of the brothel gates and what will she find? You’ll have to watch but trust me this film just has it all. Stunning costumes; allusion and symbolism; terrific cast; amazing cinematography and a fabulous soundtrack. They also nail the figure-eight step.

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If you don’t have time to watch the whole thing check out the song below Gamble by Sheena Ringo for a montage of the film.

2 thoughts on “Sakuran is Delightful Confusion

    Ben Scerri said:
    April 23, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Stopping over from http://versamus.blogspot.com.au/ as part of the A-to-Z.

    Wow, the colours look amazing! This is exactly the sort of film I have been looking for, and I am going to track down a copy 🙂

    The screen shots you’ve posted remind me heavily of the colour play in movies like Hero and House of Flying Daggers… Great article! I’m looking forward to reading more!

    Like

      jmledwellwrites responded:
      April 23, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      Hi Ben! It’s one of my favorites you’ll adore it the reds are so vibrant, the soundtrack to die for. I think YouTube has English subs. Enjoy!

      Like

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