6.7/10
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97 user 52 critic

The Pillow Book (1996)

Not Rated | | Drama | 6 June 1997 (USA)
Trailer
1:40 | Trailer

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A woman with a body writing fetish seeks to find a combined lover and calligrapher.

Director:

Peter Greenaway

Writers:

Sei Shonagon (book), Peter Greenaway
5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vivian Wu ... Nagiko
Yoshi Oida ... The Publisher
Ken Ogata Ken Ogata ... The Father
Hideko Yoshida Hideko Yoshida ... The Aunt / The Maid
Ewan McGregor ... Jerome
Judy Ongg Judy Ongg ... The Mother
Ken Mitsuishi Ken Mitsuishi ... The Husband
Yutaka Honda Yutaka Honda ... Hoki
Barbara Lott Barbara Lott ... Jerome's Mother
Miwako Kawai Miwako Kawai ... Young Nagiko
Lynne Langdon ... Jerome's sister (as Lynne Frances Wachendorfer)
Chizuru Ohnishi Chizuru Ohnishi ... Young Nagiko
Shiho Takamatsu Shiho Takamatsu ... Young Nagiko
Aki Ishimaru Aki Ishimaru ... Young Nagiko
Hisashi Hidaka 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:

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Release Date:

6 June 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

O Livro de Cabeceira See more »

Filming Locations:

Japan See more »

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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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby SR

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

Mike visible during wide shot when Nagiko kneels and Jerome signs his name on her back. 01:03:59 into the film on PAL DVDs. See more »

Quotes

Nagiko: Nipples like bone buttons. An instep like a half open book. A navel like the inside of a shell. A belly like an upturned saucer. A penis like a sea slug or a pickled cucumber.
See more »


Soundtracks

Teki Wa Ikuman
Performed by Ichjiro Wakahar
Courtesy of King Records
See more »

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User Reviews

fake art
7 May 1999 | by gilliSee all my reviews

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.


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