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The Pillow Book (1996)

 -  Drama  -  6 June 1997 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 9,573 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 91 user | 50 critic | 20 from Metacritic.com

As a young girl in Japan, Nagiko's father paints characters on her face, and her aunt reads to her from "The Pillow Book", the diary of a 10th-century lady-in-waiting. Nagiko grows up, ... See full summary »

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Title: The Pillow Book (1996)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Yoshi Oida ...
The Publisher
Ken Ogata ...
The Father
Hideko Yoshida ...
The Aunt / The Maid
...
Jerome
Judy Ongg ...
The Mother
Ken Mitsuishi ...
The Husband
Yutaka Honda ...
Hoki
Barbara Lott ...
Jerome's Mother
Miwako Kawai ...
Young Nagiko
...
Jerome's sister (as Lynne Frances Wachendorfer)
Chizuru Ohnishi ...
Young Nagiko
Shiho Takamatsu ...
Young Nagiko
Aki Ishimaru ...
Young Nagiko
Hisashi Hidaka ...
Calligrapher
Edit

Storyline

As a young girl in Japan, Nagiko's father paints characters on her face, and her aunt reads to her from "The Pillow Book", the diary of a 10th-century lady-in-waiting. Nagiko grows up, obsessed with books, papers, and writing on bodies, and her sexual odyssey (and the creation of her own Pillow Book) is a "parfait mélange" of classical Japanese, modern Chinese, and Western film images. Written by Michael C. Berch <mcb@postmodern.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

book | paper | paint | chinese | japan | See more »

Taglines:

From the creator of The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover comes a sensuous tale of passion, obsession and revenge. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| | |

Release Date:

6 June 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Livro de Cabeceira  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$105,922 (USA) (6 June 1997)

Gross:

$2,293,037 (USA) (15 August 1997)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Similarly, the nominally French lyrics (and subtitles) of the lovers' theme ("Parfait Mélange") are actually somewhat "fractured French". See more »

Goofs

Mike visible during wide shot when Nagiko kneels and Jerome signs his name on her back. 01:03:59 into the film on PAL DVDs. See more »

Quotes

Nagiko: The smell of white paper is like the scent of skin of a new lover who has just paid a surprise visit out of a rainy garden. And the black ink is like lacquered hair. And the quill? Well, the quill is like that instrument of pleasure whose purpose is never in doubt but whose surprising efficiency one always, always forgets.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Celebrity Naked Ambition (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

La Chinoise
Written by Guesch Patti and Dimitri Tikovoi
Performed by Guesch Patti
Courtesy of EMI Music Publishing France SA
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cinematic Art
14 October 1999 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

Anything by Greenaway is bound to be cinematic Art, but this effort is particularly brilliant.

It has full-frontal nudity, male and female -- not presented necessarily in sexual context, but you might want to pick your audience carefully. The nudity and homosexuality in the film are handled offhandedly and without prejudice, thus removing any hint of perversion or pornography. I know that sounds odd, but believe me, I'm a very conservative individual/artist.

But that's not The Film -- the plot is intriguing, the Art is breathtaking, and the calligraphy, ahhhhhhh, is astoundingly beautiful, especially when transcribed on human form. The vessel and the content are one -- how sublime of author and director.

My criticism? Sometimes Greenaway seems to think that we can simultaneously process all five lanes of the highway that run in his head. I, for one, am willing to watch his films twice. (Well, maybe not "The Falls").

Greenaway offers food for my soul -- I kiss both his eyes.


38 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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