6.7/10
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The Pillow Book (1996)

Not Rated | | Drama | 6 June 1997 (USA)
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 »

Director:

Writers:

(book), | 1 more credit »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Yoshi Oida ...
Ken Ogata ...
The Father
Hideko Yoshida ...
The Aunt / The Maid
...
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
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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 | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

book | paper | paint | chinese | japan | See All (254) »

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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ewan McGregor was uncomfortable about his parents watching the film, as he spends much of it being in the nude. His father took it well, and after seeing the film, responded to his son, via fax: "I'm glad you inherited one of my greatest attributes." See more »

Goofs

Nagiko says early on that her mother taught her Mandarin. Later, she says that she went to Hong Kong to improve the Chinese her mother taught her. However, the majority of people in Hong Kong speak Cantonese, not Mandarin. See more »

Quotes

Nagiko: When God made the first clay model of a human being, He painted in the eyes... the lips... and the sex. And then He painted in each person's name lest the person should ever forget it. If God approved of His creation, He brought the painted clay model into life by signing His own name.
See more »


Soundtracks

Ai no Meguriai
Performed by Judy Ongg
Courtesy of Nichion
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User Reviews

Indescribable
26 May 2002 | by (Morro Bay, Hammett Valley, Twin Rocks) – See all my reviews

God, what words to use when trying to describe this film!!! Exotic, erotic??? Those are obvious choices that pop right up. Quite a bit of this film is spoken in Japanese, and I usually hate films with subtitles, yet I loved THE PILLOW BOOK. It is sensual, delicate and beautifully executed. The music is mysterious and sexy. The way it is filmed is pure art, like the unfolding of the pages of the book it's about. Nagiko (Vivian Wu) is trying to publish a book written in caligraphy but is rejected. Looking for someone with perfect skin, she decides to use the method of writing her caligraphy onto human skin the way her father did when she was a girl. There is plenty of naked Ewan McGregor to behold, and he gives a fine...ahem...acting performance also!!! Of course this film won't appeal to just anyone, but if you're in the mood for a visually striking, colorful, cultural piece of art film, try this one out.


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