How did "Memoirs of a Geisha" ("Sayuri" here in Japan) get it so drearily wrong -- and Mika Ninagawa's new film, "Sakuran," get it so gloriously right?

Experts on geisha culture, as well as geisha themselves, slammed Rob Marshall's film for its inaccuracies in everything from obi patterns to Zhang Ziyi's glitzy solo dance, which had about the same relation to real buyo (Japanese dance) as "The Chorus Line" does to kabuki. The decision to cast non-Japanese in the three main female roles also came in for criticism, for reasons ranging from xenophobic revulsion to cold box-office logic.

I found Ziyi's dance ludicrous and the casting culturally obtuse -- it was like starring four Commonwealth actresses (say a Brit, a South African, a Kenyan and a Jamaican) in the quintessentially American "Dreamgirls," but my main objection to the film was its phony exoticism, echoing the Hollywood films of the 1950s set in the "mysterious East," but with less of an excuse.