A Geisha (Gion bayashi) (1953) - Rotten Tomatoes

A Geisha (Gion bayashi) (1953)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

A Geisha (Gion bayashi) Photos

Movie Info

A Geisha is a 1953 filmed adaptation of a novel by Matsutaro Kawaguchi. Directed by Japanese filmmaker Kenji Mizoguchi, the movie centers on two young geishas, Miyoharu (Michiyo Kogure) and her apprentice Eiko (Ayako Wakao). Near the end of World War II, social attitudes toward females are beginning to shift in Japan, leading the young Eiko to question whether or not she really wants to become a geisha, a position she feels will lower her status within society. Seizaburo Kawazu co-stars as Kusuda, a wealthy businessman who lends the money for Eiko's training and takes a nonfinancial interest in her as well. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Michiyo Kogure
as Miyoharu
Eitaro Shindo
as Sawamoto
Kikue Mori
as Domestic arts teacher
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Critic Reviews for A Geisha (Gion bayashi)

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (4)

A sardonic riff on the difference between postwar and prewar ideas is matched by an angry discussion on the gap between constitutionally guaranteed rights and brutal realities.

Full Review… | May 19, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

A hymn to women's mutual supportiveness, acutely aware that selling one's body is very different from selling one's emotions, and that sometimes it's just too late to change things for oneself.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Though the landscape of the film is restricted to a small, rather exotic quarter in Kyoto, "A Geisha" is far from esoteric. The scope is narrow and the focus is deep.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

One of the few Mizoguchi films of the 50s with a contemporary setting, it is no less eternal in its mise-en-scene than Ugetsu or Sansho the Bailiff.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Masterpiece takes a feminist view of a geisha's life with extraordinary visual style.

Full Review… | December 3, 2016
Classic Film and Television

It's one of the finest films on geishas.

Full Review… | July 17, 2006
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for A Geisha (Gion bayashi)


a beautifully observed study of the lives of geisha in the changing world of postwar japan and what happens when they try to assert their independence

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


Excellent work from Mizoguchi, very beautiful and moving and compelling. Wonderful use of curtains and corridors. He really captures female characters better than any other Japanese director I've seen. Very sad that so few of his films are available.

Martin Teller
Martin Teller

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