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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>
Much of the film is in Japanese, and some of the English subtitles appear to be intentionally incorrect or missing, in the spirit of "language play" or "the Tower of Babel". (Confirmed by director Peter Greenaway at a talk at the San Francisco Film Festival.) See more »
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 »
I could learn new languages to make you understood all over the world.
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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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