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Sakuran Review

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In an 18th-century Yoshiwara brothel, Tsuchiya exploits sex to seduce powerful men and seize her freedom.

★★★★★

Retaining independence within an 18th-century Yoshiwara brothel, Anna Tsuchiya curbs her passions to achieve her ambitions in Mika Ninagawa’s manga adaptation. Determined to succeed Yoshino Kimura’s courtesan, Tsuchiya exploits sex to seduce powerful men like stern samurai Kippei Shiina, while keeping her love for the sensitive Hiroki Narimiya. But her desire to seize her freedom rather than have it bought for her prompts a reckless act of cherry-blossom rebellion. Ninagawa’s photographic talents are evident in the sumptuous staging, but the imagery is static and the anachronistic score is a major irritant. Still, Ninagawa avoids PC sermonising and the creaky fakeness of Memoirs Of A Geisha.

The staging is sumptuous but the imagery is static and the anachronistic score is a major irritant.