1 x 52 minutes

Antoine Lassaigne
Directed by:
Antoine Lassaigne
Marathon, Discovery Channel

Year: 2002
Shooting format: Beta num


Today, there are only about one hundred authentic Geishas left in Gion, Kyoto’s most traditional neighborhood. In modern-day Japan, they are a subject of conversation only in the highly exclusive circles of rich connoisseurs. And yet these women of wit and learning, these musicians, dancers and luxury courtesans, who emerged at the end of the 18th century, are still, to this day, fascinating travelers and perpetuating the ideal of female beauty in Japanese society. They still practice their art of appearance and receiving as per the strictest traditional rules. And the female model they embody lives on forever. This 52’ documentary gives us a privileged insight into the mythical and mysterious world of the last of the Geishas, a world that is closed to foreigners. It reveals the reality behind the all-too common clichés. Contrary to popular western opinion, the Geishas do not sell their bodies for amorous pursuits. They are artists (Gei means "art" and sha means “the person”). Their role is to initiate their select patrons in the refinement of traditional Japanese ceremonial. To help our investigation, we get to meet a few of these female artists: Maïkos (apprentice Geishas), Geikos and the manageress of an Ochaya (tea house). These women, Koaï, Danyu, Mahemiro and Takacho, lead us through their daily lives. We witness the relationships that develop between them, both in the modern world and in the more traditional realm of eternal Japan. As we accompany them in their art lessons, in their private functions, or simply in their daily life in Kyoto, our main concern is to understand the refinement they incarnate and the purpose it represents: reaching perfection in terms of beauty.