Monday, December 12, 2005

Literary versus Cinematic

I went to see "Memoirs of a Geisha" with my mother. She said she HAD to go see this. I read the novel when it first came out and fell into the pages of this book. I would think that Hollywood would be able to capture the grandeur and breadth of this story. Surprisingly, it did not. The movie was certainly entertaining, but the book left me with the most vivid pictures in my mind. Any man made efforts to replace them simply failed.

The descriptions of the kimonos in the novel, for example, created the most incredible designs in my head. The ones in the movie, albeit lovely, appeared to be embroidered napkins compared to the fantasy I'd created.

Arundhati Roy refused to have her international bestseller "The God of Small Things" turned into a movie. She said that millions of people had already created movies in their heads and she didn't want to spoil it.

The one thing that DID go well beyond my expectations is Gong Li (pictured) as the antagonist Hatsumomo. The novel portrayed the geishas with such incredible beauty that no human would be able to compete. Gong Li is a woman of exceptional beauty. I must confess that I've always thought of Gong Li as one of the screen's most ravishing women--right up there with Elizabeth Taylor. Seeing Gong Li was a major factor in spending money on this movie. (Check out Gong Li's performance in Raise the Red Lantern--that opening scene with tears running down her face stained my soul.)

3 comments:

Rich said...

Yes, what you said to me is true: Gong Li was excellent. Her malevolent grace, her face, added so much depth to her performance.

LAWSTUDE said...

have u seen the original version of it? i have watched the movie on dvd with my mom and she said the original version was much heartfelt although visually the remake is better.

TV Junkie said...

Raise The Red Lantern is one of my all-time favorite films. I haven't seen Geisha yet - but I look forward to it. Guess I'd better hurry, what with the way films don't stay in theatres for more than a few weeks any longer.