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Memoirs of a GeishaMemoirs of a Geisha
Director: Rob Marshall
Stars: Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe, Michelle Yeoh
Studio: Columbia Pictures

The Plot: A nine-year old girl from a Japanese fishing village is sold to a geisha house in Kyoto. Able to survive the harsh treatment and training, she transforms herself into one of the most desirable geishas in the land, just as World War II begins to rear its head. Based on the runaway bestseller by Arthur Golden.

THE BUZZ: Steven Spielberg was once attached to direct, but ultimately gave the reins over to Rob Marshall, who made this his follow-up to Chicago. No less than four screenwriters are attached to the film, but they're all top notch, including Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind). The cast reunites Crouching Tiger stars Zhang Ziyi and Michelle Yeoh, and also features Ken Watanabe and Gong Li (never mind that they're all from different countries). With all these elements, Geisha is primed as this year's biggest Oscar bait, but will it sink under the weight of all this A-list talent, or take it and run with it all the way to the podium at the Kodak Theater? In ultra-limited release (4 North American cities), the film scored the second highest per-screen take of 2005 (Brokeback Mountain holds the per-screen record).


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