The Pillow Book (1996)

Genres - Avant-garde / Experimental, Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Erotic Drama  |   Release Date - Jun 6, 1997 (USA)  |   Run Time - 127 min.  |   Countries - France, Netherlands, UK  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Peter Greenaway directed this elliptical and visually intricate tale of the far side of erotic and intellectual attraction. As a girl, Nagiko would receive a special gift each year from her father: a calligrapher (Ken Ogata) who would carefully paint a poem on her face, as her aunt (Hideko Yoshida) read aloud from The Pillow Book, a classic Japanese text on the art of love. As Nagiko (Vivian Wu) reached adulthood, her father insisted on putting a stop to this ritual, and he persuaded her to marry the nephew of his publisher (Ken Mitsuishi). But Nagiko is not satisfied with her husband, and after finding success as a model, she seeks a lover who will indulge her fondness for literature by writing verse on her naked body. In time, she finds happiness with a British expatriate named Jerome (Ewan McGregor), who persuades her to use his body as paper for her poetry, but the interference of her father's publisher (Yoshi Oida) gives their relationship a tragic turn. Greenaway deliberately mistranslated some of the French and Japanese dialogue for The Pillow Book, hoping that the occasionally fractured language would give the film a "Tower of Babel" quality.

Characteristics

Keywords

calligraphy, fetish [sexual], marital-problems, poetry, publisher, sex, tattoo, writing

Attributes

Cult Film, High Production Values