| A fascinating
erotic odyssey from childhood to womanhood through a continuous stream of written
characters, The Pillow Book written and directed by Peter Greenaway is his most
imaginative and innovative film. Set in Japan and Hong Kong, the passionate tale begins
with a father painting a Kanji birthday greeting on the face of his young daughter. And so
begins Nagiko's quest for the understanding of life filtered through calligraphy.
Greenaways use of multiple aspect ratios and film layered upon film is in itself erotic. Gossamer images overlay inserts of action are smaller segments of the screen. All the while, the hypnotic beat of the score, intricately composed to match the rhythms of the magic images, takes the viewer on a journey into uncharted waters.
From the classic Japanese
book of a royal lady's life observations, The Pillow Book follows the
erotic patterns laid down in the classic book and intercuts them with Nagiko's modern tale. The
Pillow Book is not shy about sexual organs. There are more male parts than female and
the variety is displayed brazenly, but the nudity is integrated within the plot. Some
staggering violence may be too strong for the faint of stomach. But I emphasize that every
aspect of The Pillow Book is delivered with great taste and tact.