The Pillow Book

The Pillow Book (1996)

'When God made the first clay model of a human being, he painted the eyes, the lips, and the sex.

 And then He painted in each person's name lest the person should ever forget it.

 If God approved of His creation, he breathed the painted clay-model into life by signing His own name.'

At the beginning of the film we see a little girl being written upon by her father. The film then moves to the girl as an adult, and seeking lovers who will write on her body again. She meets a bisexual Englishman, who also likes to be written on, and she finds out he is also a former lover of a man who has previously betrayed her father.

Greenaway uses some of the techniques from Prospero's Books, in the way the film is shown, with small rectangular boxes containing other images. The film has a luscious look about it, as per usual with Greenaway's films. There is also a seductive French song that plays at times during the film, a sensuous lady (Guesch Patti) performs this tune, and it is very appropriate to the film. The film is erotic, with plenty of nudity on view (the film has a NC-17 rating in the US). It's an impressive CD-ROM-like piece of cinema.


"Decidely not everyone's cup of sake, but for Greenaway fans and filmgoers willing to be seduced by a mature and richly decorative slice of Asian culture, The Pillow Book will be a treat, albeit at times a demanding one." - David Stratton, Variety

"Greenaway once said something that perfectly describes his work: "I don't make pictures that have a sell-by date." Most new American movies have a limited shelf life. They're put in the theaters to sink or swim. If they haven't sold in a week or two, they're yanked like stale bread. Greenaway's notion is that his movies stand outside the ordinary distribution channels. You may see them today or in 10 years, as you choose. And when you are ready." - Roger Ebert ***1/2


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Water Wrackets

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Vertical Features Remake

A Walk Through H

The Falls

Act of God

The Draughtsman's Contract

The Sea in their Blood

Making a Splash

A Zed & Two Noughts

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The Belly of an Architect

Drowning by Numbers

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Prospero's Books

M is for Man, Music and Mozart


The Baby of Mācon

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8 1/2 Women

The Death of a Composer

The Tulse Luper Suitcases

The European Showerbath


Tulse Luper


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