For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.
1,152 Ratings

The Pillow Book

Directed by Peter Greenaway
United Kingdom, Netherlands, 1996
Drama, Romance, LGBT+


As a young girl in Japan, Nagiko’s father paints characters on her face, and her aunt reads to her from The Pillow Book, the diary of a 10th-century lady-in-waiting. As she grows up, obsessed with books, papers, and writing on bodies, Nagiko begins a sexual odyssey.

Our take

One of director Peter Greenaway’s most sensual movies, this mysterious, raunchy tale retains the power to boldly challenge our conception of narrative cinema. Co-starring a young Ewan McGregor, The Pillow Book tackles artistic expression while exploring word and image, and fact and fiction.

The Pillow Book Directed by Peter Greenaway

Critics reviews

Through his intense formalism, Greenaway can seem even further removed than even Bresson, but that doesn’t mean he cannot achieve the same results. In The Pillow Book, the emotion wrought from deliberate repetitions and connections to history grow through sensualism.
August 19, 2016
Read full article

Related films