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The Pillow Book [DVD] [Cantonese/Eng/Ita] [1996]

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Special Features

  • Commentary by director Peter Greenaway
  • A new essay by film critic Nicolas Rapold
  • Closed Captioned


The Pillow Book
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. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Vivian Wu
    Vivian Wu - Nagiko
  • Ewan McGregor
    Ewan McGregor - Jerome
  • Yoshi Oida
    Yoshi Oida - The Publisher
  • Image coming soon
    Ken Ogata - The Father
  • Image coming soon
    Hideko Yoshida - The Aunt/The Maid
Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.