Critic Reviews for Sakuran
The characters are likeable but thin and, despite a few raw, persuasive scenes, the script feels emotionally stunted.
So full of attitude that it fairly leaps off the screen with claws bared
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.
If it is all a little like an arty novelette, there's no doubt it is a feast for the eye.
But Ninagawa's obsession with image-making saps the story until the movie, like its heroine, is merely handsomely mounted.
Audience Reviews for Sakuran
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.
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.
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