6.7/10
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The Pillow Book (1996)

Not Rated | | Drama | 6 June 1997 (USA)
A woman with a body writing fetish seeks to find a combined lover and calligrapher.

Director:

Writers:

(book), | 1 more credit »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Ken Ogata ...
The Father
Hideko Yoshida ...
...
Judy Ongg ...
The Mother
Ken Mitsuishi ...
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

Taglines:

Things that make the heart beat faster. 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:

 »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$105,922, 8 June 1997, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,293,037, 17 August 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
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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

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: You've been reading my diary?
The Husband: Isn't that why people keep diaries? To be read by someone else? Otherwise why keep them?
Nagiko: To know about themselves.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Peter Greenaway in Indianapolis (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Invocations of Gompo
Performed by Buddhist Lamas & Monks of the Four Great Orders
Courtesy of Lyrichord Disks New York
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cinematic Art
14 October 1999 | by 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.


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