Memoirs of a Geisha... and Jane Eyre?
Not an obvious comparison in my mind, but one which I have seen come up twice this week, and therefore, deserving of coverage here on Brontëana. Memoirs of a Geisha written by Arthur Golden is the basis for the film currently in theatres.
Based upon the beloved novel by Arthur Golden, director Rob Marshall's Memoirs of a Geisha is in theaters now. Ziyi Zhang plays Chiyo, a girl torn from her destitute family who seems fated to live the life of a lowly servant. In spite of her station, Chiyo's great beauty threatens the treacherous, jealous Hatsumomo (Li Gong); it's all the reason she needs to treat her cruelly. Chiyo is aided, however, by Mameha (Michelle Yeoh), who teaches her in the art of being a geisha. Under Mameha's tutelage, Chiyo is transformed into the beautiful geisha Sayuri. Sayuri is desired by countless men but her heart is pledged to "The Chairman" (Ken Watanabe), a man whom she cannot have.
Ziyi Zhang compares her character's story to several sweeping tales of women making their way in the world, including Jane Eyre:
The adult Sayuri is played by Ziyi Zhang. She is eventually sponsored by the famed geisha Mameha, played by Michelle Yeoh. The end of World War II brings the Americans to Japan and eventually the end of geisha as an art form. Zhang compares the story to "Jane Eyre" (poverty to respectability), "Gone With the Wind" (the destruction of one society after defeat in war), "Cinderella" and "Pygmalion" (rags-to-riches fantasies).
The full review of the film, including this reference to Jane Eyre can be found here.