A very good looking film. It's entertaining, and wacky at the same time, watching Japanese adults be so polite and classy. There's an admirable strength to it I enjoy, but the film didn't strike me as terribly deep or adventurous. It's a great historical document, I suppose, but I think I'm no good at watching films "as if". On a superficial level I was disappointed by the 1950s american styled hairdos, although it's not surprising and is part of the film's substance.
This is the story of Mama, a.k.a. Keiko, a middle-aged geisha who must choose to either get married or buy a bar of her own. Her family hounds her for money, her customers for her attention, and she is continually in debt. The life of a geisha is examined as well as the way in which the system traps and sometimes kills those in it.