Sounds in Spielberg’s “Memoirs of a Geisha” Film Essay
- In the beginning scene, how does the sound of the train interact with the situation?
The train is aligned with a departure from the old life. Yong Chiyo begins a journey into a different world. The train whistle is very deep and mysterious as the beginning of the path is unknown and much different from the present life.
- What is the role of the sound of the falling rain in the movie?
When Chiyo is wandering the streets or when she is shown standing in the rain, it reflects her inner emotions and pain. Here, the sound is aligned with tears and fear.
- In the scene where Chiyo meets Chairman, what does the music playing in the background represent?
Chiyo is very much lost at this point. She is not sure where life will take her, but the Chairman has given her hope. As such, the melody is significant of a new beginning which is wanted by the heroine. She embraces and anticipates her journey to become a geisha.
- What is the role of drumming in the scene where Chiyo is being prepared to become a geisha? How is sound related to theoretical applications?
The intensity and rhythm relate to the fast-paced environment of the preparation. The sound of drums is used in a variety of tempos which speeds up the emotions and expectance of the outcome.
- In the scenes when Sayuri is shown to think what form of the character is perceived through the music?
Often, the music is very melodic and stretched out. This creates an effect of sadness and emotional hesitation. The music is used to represent the inability to cope with the stressful environment and the rivalry of other geishas.
- What effect does the interplay of sounds produce in the scene where Sayuri talks to the Chairman in the garden?
The mix between the sounds of nature, the conversation, and music create harmony and add to the visuals of the garden. The sound represents the unity between several aspects of life and the surrounding environment.
- In the scene where Sayuri becomes full geisha what does the intensity of the music/sound illustrate?
Even if it was impossible to visually see the scene, it would be clear that Sayuri is very different from the person she was before. The music is screeching and intense, signifying the mix of emotions between anger, disappointment, and endurance in reaching a goal.
- What is the relationship between sound and natural scenery, provide examples.
The natural scenes are intermixed with calming music. It shows that nature is wise while people are insignificant comparing to the grandeur of the planet. When Sayuri walks to the cliffs, and visually the camera moves away from her, the music is meant to increase the distance even more.
- What is the difference between the sound in the beginning and ending scenes?
In the beginning, the unknown and dangerous world is emerging. A person is being warned about what’s to come. In the end, the melody is very optimistic and relieving. People have reached their goals, enduring hardships and limitations
- How does sound accentuate space?
It has been noted that space has some form of sound. A “fast moving” open space would be noisy and chaotic but sometimes, a vast area has quiet and minimal sounds. Smaller spaces are more lifeless and absent of sounds.