MovieChat Forums > The Pillow Book (1996) Discussion > What the hell was this movie about?

What the hell was this movie about?


All i could grab was that is she wants to be a writer. And by writing on ppls bodies is going to get her there? I was extreamly disapointed with this movie. I was expecting ewan and lots sex. Sex through the whole movie but i could barely stand to even watch it.
i once read that this movie was describe as "soft porn"
this was not soft porn.
xoxo

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[deleted]

[deleted]

This a movie that parallels and modern Nagiko to the Nagiko that wrote the original Pillow Book back in the 11th Century. I don't know who told you that this is soft porn. It you want that watch "Intimacy", "In the Realm of the Senses" or "Emmanuelle". Of course you may get bored because there's actually a storyline and a plot involved.

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"The film is about an idealistic duality of art (literature and calligraphy) and sensuality"

The above comment by Adam A. Wilcox is absolutely true. This film, by using the parallels between the original author of Pillow Book and Nagiko, tries to find whether there is any common source behind the intense pleasures that can be derived from art and sensuality.
In another level there is an attempt to make a bridge between literature and film. In this film, if you watch closely, multiple 'windows' have been used which serve the same purposes as the footnotes in a book. So, this film is not only to be watched, but also to be read.
"Sex through the whole movie but i could barely stand to even watch it."

It is not sex, it is the celebration of sensuality. Here sexual acts have attained the heights of the works of art and that's why they are supposed to stimulate your brain, not anyhing else.
And alone and without his nest shall the eagle fly across the sun.

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This is a haunting film. I actually rented this, because of Ewan McGregor's name appearing in the credits, from Blockbuster! I believe no one had seen it or I wouldn't have found it on their shelves. (Foreign films bear no ratings).I wanted to mention the music. It was eery & special,like the movie.

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I have no idea what was this movie about.
This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen.
The script is plain stupid.

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[deleted]

Good one. :)

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I think it's really silly to suggest that just because someone doesn't like a movie that is deemed arty and intelligent, they must be stupid.

I didn't like this movie, I thought the script was pretty stupid also, and I think that while the message of "a celebration of sex and literature" is pretty great (they are in fact, two of my favorite things) it could have been put across more interestingly. The visuals were nice, and I must admit that I now have an interest in being painted on. But other than that, I really did find the movie pretty dull. I must be stupid.

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No. It doesn't mean that you are stupid. But it may mean that you are a little too immersed in american (read hollywood) film to appreciate something that doesn't follow the structure and plot development rules that you are accustomed to. And maybe a little lacking in appreciation of art for arts sake. This film doesn't follow any hollywood rules and that is the very thing that makes it successful as art. Film rather than movie. Detach you brain from the expectations of hollow-wood and watch the way the film develops. Watch the layers. See the choreography of shape and story. There are many things about the film that don't make much sense from a plot driven point of view. They aren't supposed to.

If you truly want to appreciate art film, try watching more foreign film, and some animation (not cartoons) Try the Triplets of Belleville. Try some anime. Try a lot more of the more plot driven Asian films.

If you aren't interested, you aren't interested. Doesn't make you stupid. But, maybe a bit limited.

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Or.... someone who doesn't like it *may just not like the film* - some people will resonate with different "arty films" than others.

I personally love foreign movies and tend to prefer British and other movies vs American, but The Pillow Book is still not at all my cup of tea.

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"hollow-wood"

I like that, it's fits perfectly.

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I realize that this poster is no longer active but I have to say, that is some of the most elitist, pretentious, bigoted horse spit I've read on IMDb!! First of all, The "American" film industry is the most diverse IN THE WORLD and there are no "Hollywood rules". SMH.

I watch LOTS of "foreign" films and I love some of them and dislike others. Same with American "films" FFS. I'm also VERY involved in art and music and my tastes range from hard-line classic to totally free-form abstraction. "Art for arts sake"? Are you kidding? Only a pretentious douche would think that mindset has any merit whatsoever.

I didn't care for this one and I'm definitely not "limited". To me it was just too "artsy for the sake of being artsy" and VERY boring, especially the cinematography. Ok, clever multiple screens that did very little (or nothing). Yawn.

I don't love her.. She kicked me in the face!!

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I don't get it. You're obviously intelligent enough to get the visual part, but not the script, go figure... I absolutelly LOVE this film because it mixes my two favourite things, books and films, and it is exhilirating to see a film with all the little distractions you get in a book, like the little notes, the text and the image, the chapters... The script wasn't stupid, it was simple, and, in my oppinion quite straightforward. There is a big difference between simple and stupid. If you can't see it, I sugest you catch Night at the museum, for example, or that monument to stupid which is The dukes of Hazzard. If your oppinion still holds I sugest you stop watching Peter Grenaway's films. The way he tells stories and the stories themselves are not to everyone's taste.
Fasten your seatbelts, it's gonna be a bumpy ride...



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Me? American? lol
I saw this one in the UK.
I have seen more "foreign" cinema that you will ever see.

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Have to use brain and imagination?
American?!
You can go back to see spiderman again.
Thank you!


You're an idiot.

you are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.

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Beautiful images
No emotional connection
Vivian Wu came across like a whiny teenager

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Here is my interpretation of the film : I see ultimately as a sort of Jacobean revenge story on "the Publisher". In a way it harks back to a similar plot of Greenaway's "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover". I get the whole sort of "life's journey" of Vivian Wu's character and then the parallels with the original pillow book. Interesting that it mixes text and film - as Greenaway has complained that films rely on text too much. The actual images of writing on a human body are very sensuous and sexy. The thought of the soft brush touching the skin and how it might tickle you. Also the scene of Jerome and Noakgtka in the bath are very sensual as well.

Very interesting film. I didn't get all of it, but it certainly sustained my attention and entertained me for the most part.

I'd put it behind Greenaway's "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover", as my favourite film of his. I've also seen "Nightwatching"(found it rather dull), Baby of Macon(didn't like it and the idea of it as a play in a film was badly conceived in my opinion) and The Draughtman's contract(interesting images - as always with Greenaway - and great music, but the rest of the film didn't excite me).

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Don't get mad at the movie just because YOU were too dim to understand it's full context!

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[deleted]

I agree too that it sort of ran out of steam towards the end, but I think it had built a solid enough foundation up to that point to carry it through to the end.

This is only the second Greenaway movie I've seen - I must say that while I admired The Cook... for its cinematography, I actually hated the film. This film, on the other hand, was superb. I have been wanting to see Prospero's Books for a long time but don't know where to find it.

Actually, unlike other posters here, I found this film very erotic. Compared to other so-called 'soft-porn' films like 9 Songs and Betty Blue, The Pillow Book was far sexier.

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[deleted]

>> Should I point out the irony in the people who called you stupid, dim, or American for not understanding the movie, cannot be bothered to use proper spelling, punctuation or grammar? <<

I hope you don't think that your question is properly grammatical.

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Good point! :))
Anyway, I don't think that not understanding the movie makes this guy so unpleasant. It is the fact that, without understanding it, still thinks he must share us his opinions.
It's that simple: you don't get it - you don't get it!
Just as people who write on Greenaway board hardly ever review Transformers movies. He should do the same!

We don't piss in your ashtrays, so please don't throw cigarettes in our urinals! [Kurt Vonnegut Jr]

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