Sample Movie Review Paper on Sisters of the Gion

Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, the movie ‘Sisters of the Gion’ is a drama film which
features two sitters staying in Gion district. The film was produced in 1936 and is considered
to be both a white and black movie. The central theme of the movie is gender roles since the
storyline depicts two different women; one who resents the traditional views of women and
another who follows them ardently.
The story of the movie revolves around Omocha and Umekichi who are sisters that
live together in the district of Gion, Kyoto (Mota 1). The area is known for various
pleasurable escapades as men use ladies for sexual satisfaction. In this regard, men do not
expect ladies to object to their advances and should accept to serve them with loyalty as
having more than one patron at a time was considered immoral. However, the two sisters,
despite living together, have contrasting views on relationships and men. In this regard,
Umekichi who is the elder of the two holds local traditions dear to her. She is loyal to her
patron and wears the accepted conservative dresses as required by the Gion society. On the
other hand, Omocha who is the younger sister goes around wearing western clothes, and she
does not trust men. This could be attributed to the fact that she attended public schools. Her
distrust for men makes her manipulate them through lies and even uses them to her benefit
when she works as a geisha. Omocha’s view that men only use ladies as geisha and then take
up new ones is revealed when Shimbei Furusawa, her sister’s client takes money from her

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and instead of going back to his wife, pleasures himself with the money and then goes to live
with a former client.
The movie “Sisters of the Gion” ideally offers a realistic look at the society of Gion
and how they treated women. Produced in pre-modernity time, the movie can be used to
reflect on the life of women especially those engaged in geisha business all over the world.
At the time of the movie, there was no gender equality. Despite the timing, the film also
incorporates aspects of modernity through Omocha who despite being a geisha, behaves
differently by ignoring all the traditions and expectations which relate to her profession.
Omocha uses men to her advantage and demonstrates more satisfaction with her life as
compared to her sister who is an ardent traditionalist.
Through Omocha, the author of the movie story as quoted by Hansen (6), shows how
women began their revolution to compete with men for opportunities and freedom. In this
regard, Omocha adopts the masculine behavior of men as she uses them to her advantage.
She moves from one patron to another gaining money, fancy meals, and clothes in the
process. Moreover, she sends away her sister’s patron who was broke. However, while going
around in these endeavors, Omocha hurts a trustworthy store clerk who then sets out to take
revenge. The revenge by the clerk affects both Omocha and Umekichi, indicating how
difficult it was for women to compete with men.
In conclusion, it is apparent that the “Sisters of the Gion” movie focuses on the
position of women in the society based on gender roles. In this regard, women especially
those who are in sexual professions such as geisha are used by men, and when they try to
fight for equal opportunities, they end up losing. For instance, whereas Umekichi is dubbed
by Shimbei Furusawa when he is offered a factory job in the countryside, Omocha suffers life
threating injuries at the hands of the shop clerk.

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Work cited

Hansen, Kelly. "Contesting images of gender: Examining Mizoguchi Kenji’s Sisters of the
Gion for the twenty-first century." Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema 9.1
(2017): 1-13.
Mota, André. Sisters of the Gion. YouTube, 2016, Accessed from