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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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 <email@example.com>
"The Pillow Book" is an erotic masterpiece. A story that unravels like a Japanese scroll. It teases and excites us with floating images. It's Greenaway's masterful technique, the same that he used so successfully in "Prospero's Books". He captures our attention and plays with our emotions. I don't understand one character in Japanese calligraphy but the idea of writing a poem or a prayer or a story on human skin is certainly an original one. Calligraphy is always charming to look at as the camera wanders about the human anatomy. Even the Lord's prayer in English takes on a very personal meaning when it scrawls across the chest and arms and ends up somewhere below the navel. The story itself is simple enough. Its about two people -a Japanese girl and a Westerner - falling in love. There's nothing new in that. But it's the progression of their romance through their calligraphic foreplay that binds our attention. It's beautifully and delicately portrayed - somewhat dream-like in its presentation. There's a suicide scene which one might expect would draw this romantic drama to a close, but no! the story gathers pace and races on to unexpected heights. Based on observations made by Sei Shonagon in the 10th century, the Pillow Book is a collection of 13 essays entitled "Book of Youth", "Book of the Seducer". "Book of Secrets", "Book of the Dead" etc. But essentially this is about "The Book of the Lover". Some audience will cringe with horror when they see how this book is prepared. Ewan McGregor and Vivian Wu are to be congratulated on their exceptional performances( and backed by a competent cast} in a most original and memorable production.
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