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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Vivian Wu
Yoshi Oida
Ewan McGregor.
Directors
Peter Greenaway.
Screenwriters
Peter Greenaway.
Running Time
126 minutes

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The Pillow Book
Greenaway's blurred tale of a young Japanese woman and her sensual/sexual explorations and deviations


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Plot
Nagiko is inspired by a thousand-year-old Pillow Book to compile her own existential inventories. Out to avenge her author father Nagiko sends his publisher 13 "books" written on the live skin of her lovers


Review
The latest movie from Britain's most cryptic auteur proves, true to form, a tough nut to crack. Peter Greenaway has crafted an esoteric canon of stylised films - from The Draughtsman's Contract to The Baby Of Macon - that trade on wit, technical innovation and his background as a painter. But as he still wears his inaccessibility on his sleeve, you'll come away none the wiser as to what this latest effort is actually getting at.

Here both Greenaway's strengths and weaknesses are on show as he toys with the viewers' capacity to ingest blurring metaphors and convoluted content. Nagiko (Wu) is inspired by a thousand-year-old Pillow Book (a journal penned by a lady-in-waiting that tells of her general love of life), to compile her own existential inventories. Out to avenge her author father, who has paid off his publisher with sexual favours, Nagiko sends the publisher 13 "books" written on the live skin of her lovers - including a Sumo wrestler and a multilingual translator, Jerome (McGregor, cockily wielding calligraphy quills and flashing, full-frontal, his so-called "instrument of pleasure").

The ensuing drama proves to be a sensual affair, awash with broad strokes of archetypal Greenaway symbolism as well as predictable enough bouts of violence. But the skin-as-paper analogies fast wear thin, and the director cuts the audience no slack, not fleshing out the characters or throwing any light on Japanese rites, leaving a muddled riot of ideas.


Verdict
A muddled riot of ideas as Greenaway stretches his blurring metaphors and convoluted content to extremes.


Reviewed by Leah Jewett

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Pillow Book
Empire Star Rating

Greenaways triumph

yet another excellent film that i have come to expect from someone like Greenaway. Its all here the arty stuff ect but one problem i have is that can Ewan Mcgregor please cover up because i have seen his private parts in 6 of his films and i have seen them to much. If you dont mind his balls then watch this film its excellent. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by OMGWTFBBQ at 21:01, 03 July 2006 | Report This Post



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