Movie Review: The Pillow Book

An exotic ode to love, art and revenge, Peter Greenaway’s The Pillow Book (A) stars Vivian Wu as a Japanese model in search of lovers who will paint on her body as part of their mating ritual with her. One of these men is a British translator played by Ewan McGregor, and a romantic entanglement that soon erupts due to betrayal and blackmail leads the plot down a variety of unexpected passageways. Greenaway’s innovative uses of popular music, multimedia effects, calligraphy and chapter settings, sensory illusions and uncensored erotic imagery makes this one of the most resonant and resplendent films to blossom on screen in years. This is one for the dreamers.