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Sakuran (2007)



Average Rating: 5.7/10
Reviews Counted: 10
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 3

Sumptuous and arty Japanese geisha flick, tastefully filmed, but with irritating soundtrack. Like Marie Antoinette with Sake instead of Champagne.

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 0

Sumptuous and arty Japanese geisha flick, tastefully filmed, but with irritating soundtrack. Like Marie Antoinette with Sake instead of Champagne.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 3,026

My Rating

Movie Info

Mika Ninagawa's lavishly produced, broadly-scaled period epic Sakuran unfurls in 18th century Edo, the embryonic fishing village that in later years blossomed into the Japanese metropolis of Tokyo. Anna Tsuchiya stars as Kiyoha, a social-climbing courtesan who inhabits and works in a bordello of the exclusive Yoshiwara district. Exceptionally particular regarding her customers/bedmates, Kiyoha seeks liberation from the lifestyle and career that have ensconced her - but refuses to accept such


Art House & International, Drama

Moyoco Anno, Yuki Tanada

Asmik Ace Entertainment - Official Site External Icon


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All Critics (11) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (7) | Rotten (3)

The characters are likeable but thin and, despite a few raw, persuasive scenes, the script feels emotionally stunted.

August 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

So full of attitude that it fairly leaps off the screen with claws bared

August 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

In short, Sakuran is an enjoyable, superbly directed and impressively acted drama that gives a delicious manga-slash-J-pop twist to the geisha story. Worth seeking out.

August 29, 2008 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

If it is all a little like an arty novelette, there's no doubt it is a feast for the eye.

August 29, 2008 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

But Ninagawa's obsession with image-making saps the story until the movie, like its heroine, is merely handsomely mounted.

August 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Ninagawa, like Sophia Coppola in Marie Antoinette, brings to a traditional story a keen compositional flair and a love of bright colours, as well as deploying a lively, jazzy soundtrack.

August 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

As the story progresses, it settles into something more traditionally sorrowful, but not before it has delivered a blast of energy.

August 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

The pop star Anna Tsuchiya is duly fetching as the young upstart, but not fetching enough to prop up a cast-iron potboiler.

August 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

The staging is sumptuous but the imagery is static and the anachronistic score is a major irritant.

August 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Loud and lurid, this dazzlingly picturesque peek through the courtesans' fishbowl embraces the very cosmetic illusions that it also exposes in a world of exploited women.

August 27, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

Audience Reviews for Sakuran

The storyline itself is pretty generic - nothing you won't have seen outside other films in vaguely the same area like Memoirs of a Geisha and Moulin Rouge, only with more graphic sex (it is the nature of the Oiran after all). What made this special for me was the stunning way it was shot, with bright colours, an eclectic mix of modern and historical elements in costume and set, and a few experimental or unusual shots. Kiyoha's character seems pretty modern, or at least not in any way meek, which is refreshing but not really automatically endearing - that comes later.

Those of you who want to see this, be prepared to be there for the long haul. I wouldn't call it dull, but the plot isn't especially action-packed.
March 10, 2009

Super Reviewer

Great artisticly executed movie from Mika Ninagawa... I really enjoyed everything she did in this movie set in 18th Century Edo, Japan. ?Sakuran? traces the life of Kiyoha as she ascents from the lowly courtesan ranks to the high class position of Oiran in the steamy red-light district of Yoshiwara. The oiran were women that existed during the Edo era and they lived in self-contained ?Pleasure Quarters? and like geishas were required to be well-versed with the arts of dance, music, poetry and calligraphy, and conversation. However, unlike geishas, the oiran were prostitutes, although they were considered to be elite prostitutes.
April 30, 2010
Panta Oz

Super Reviewer


August 21, 2011
Lesley N

Super Reviewer

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