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The Pillow Book (1996)

Not Rated | | Drama | 6 June 1997 (USA)
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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

Country:

Netherlands | UK | France | Luxembourg

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

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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

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. 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: The smell of white paper is like the scent of skin of a new lover who has just paid a surprise visit out of a rainy garden. And the black ink is like lacquered hair. And the quill? Well, the quill is like that instrument of pleasure whose purpose is never in doubt but whose surprising efficiency one always, always forgets.
See more »

Connections

References Full Metal Jacket (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Daddy's Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car
Written by U2
Performed by U2
Courtesy of Polygram International
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User Reviews

Interesting, but too calculated to be truly erotic
17 November 2003 | by Rod ParkesSee all my reviews

Like many of Peter Greenaway's movies, Pillow Book features extensive nudity. However, while the plot development is well worked out, the cast is competent, and Greenaway shows off a dazzling array of cinematic techniques, he always seems to approach his material too intellectually to really engage the viewer's emotions. I cannot know his intentions, but my impression is that he regards his scripts as more akin to a complex mathematical puzzle to be worked out than a story about real people with human feelings, leaving the movie worth watching but curiously cool and clinical rather than passionately erotic.


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