THE PILLOW BOOK (Peter Greenaway, 1996)

The Pillow Book confirms that Peter Greenaway is a reeking director. A visually busy thing, it’s about a young Japanese woman, initially in search of a calligrapher to write on her naked body, who herself ends up writing a book on the naked body of a young linguist and author living in Hong Kong. (Could be, that is; everything about this film is hard to follow.) Eventually the man commits suicide, and his and the woman’s publisher has his corpse gruesomely skinned. (Both had been the young man’s lover.) Lots of tiny insert-screens inside the main screen, helping us to arrive at optical torture.
     Lots of nudity. Lots of calligraphy. Tedious stuff—and at two hours’ length, no less. Also, the acting is horrific, especially Ewan McGregor’s.

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