The Pillow Book (1997)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.


Movie Info

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 … More

Rating: NC-17
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Special Interest, Cult Movies
Directed By:
Written By: Sei Shonagon, Peter Greenaway
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 15, 1998
Runtime:
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Cast


as Nagiko

as The Father

as The Publisher

as The Aunt / The Maid

as The Mother

as The Husband

as Jerome's Mother

as Young Nagiko

as Young Nagiko

as Young Nagiko

as Young Nagiko

as Calligrapher

as Calligrapher

as Calligrapher

as Calligrapher

as Intruder

as Calligrapher

as Calligrapher

as Calligrapher

as Calligrapher

as The Book of the Inno...

as The Book of the Idio...

as The Book of Old Age

as The Book of the Exhi...

as The Book of the Sedu...

as The Book of Youth

as The Book of Secrets

as The Book of the Betr...

as The Book of Silence

as The Book of Birth & ...

as Calligrapher

as The Book of the Dead

as Lecturer

as Grandmother

as Husband's Friend

as Husband's Friend

as Baby Nagiko

as Nagiko's Baby

as Nagiko's Friend

as Nagiko's Friend

as Nagiko's Friend

as Nagiko's Friend

as Nagiko's Friend

as Nagiko's Friend

as Nagiko's Friend

as Model

as Model

as 10th Century Man

as 10th Century Man

as 10th Century Man

as 10th Century Man

as 10th Century Man

as 10th Century Man

as Man in Lift

as 10th Century Man

as 10th Century Man

as 10th Century Woman

as Calligrapher

as 10th Century Woman

as 10th Century Woman

as 10th Century Woman

as 10th Century Woman

as 10th Century Woman

as 10th Century Woman

as 10th Century Woman

as 10th Century Woman

as 10th Century Woman

as 10th Century Woman

as 10th Century Woman

as 10th Century Woman

as 10th Century Woman

as Model Friend in Café...

as Model Friend in Café...

as Model Friend in Café...

as Wife of Calligrapher

as Intruder

as Intruder

as Elderly Secretary

as Young Female Secreta...

as Young Male Secretary

as Old Servant

as Servant's Wife

as Bookshop Manager

as Book of Seducer

as 10th Century Woman
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Pillow Book

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (9)

At first daunting but ultimately awesomely impressive and beautiful.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

A very intimate, sensual film, and a torrid, lurid melodrama, full of passion, jealousy, hatred and revenge.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A seductive and elegant story that combines a millennium of Japanese art and fetishes with the story of a neurotic modern woman who tells a lover: "Treat me like the pages of a book."

Full Review… | April 9, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Greenaway, whose mind is one of the most impressive, complicated organs that ever sat on the shoulders of a filmmaker, seems to be playing connect the dots to himself, almost dumbing himself down to be commercial.

Full Review… | January 22, 2002
Washington Post
Top Critic

Despite its arresting visual style, its wave after wave of creative and hypnotic images, "The Pillow Book," as its name hints, slowly but inexorably leads to sleep.

Full Review… | February 14, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Such Greenaway films as "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover," "Prospero's Books" and now this make one wonder if they're really as deep as they pretend to be. Perhaps, as his actors, this emperor has no clothes.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Pillow Book

½

A beautiful woman is obsessed with inking characters on human flesh, making herself and her lovers into living books. Gorgeous and sensual, with layered images and pictures framed inside of other pictures. Greenaway's painterly picture is a loving tribute both to calligraphy and to the nude human form, and the movie would be a classic if only there was a story attached to the sumptuous images.

366weirdmovies
Greg S

Super Reviewer

Well it was different that's for sure.

jjnxn
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

½

Everytime i try to get into this film i encounter a solid wall that won't let me pass. Vivian Wu should be in more movies, naked if possible.

DragonEyeMorrison
Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

The Pillow Book Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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