A woman with a body writing fetish seeks to find a combined lover and calligrapher.A woman with a body writing fetish seeks to find a combined lover and calligrapher.A woman with a body writing fetish seeks to find a combined lover and calligrapher.
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. —Michael C. Berch <email@example.com>
Just because a movie looks good, it does not mean it is good. Just because it is filled with erudition, it does not mean it has any cultural or artistic value. It must have something to say, and say it in a consistent manner. That is what distinguishes great art from phony art. "The pillow book" is not great art, it is not art at all. Its main subject is about writing on people's bodies. It insists on having a plot, although it seems to constantly remind us that it is not a conventional melodrama, but a pictorial essay. In fact it does not work either as a melodrama or as an abstract construction. Its meretricious efforts are a sad evidence of a certain "anything goes" quality that pervades much of the noncommercial post-60s cinema that bloomed amidst the disillusionment with the increasing infantilization of the Hollywood mainstream films. Madness, it is known, begets madness.
- May 7, 1999
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