This file was generated 2002-06-09 04:23 GMT. This movie's information hasn't changed since 2001-10-06.

Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> July 1998 >> The Pillow Book

The Pillow Book

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
2 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
July 1998
IMDB Name:
Pillow Book, The (1996)
Peter Greenaway
drama, romance
MPAA Rating:

That Wacky Director

There are people who can enjoy Peter Greenaway films, and there are the rest of us. After seeing A Zed & Two Noughts, I was leery of seeing any more of his films. I have to credit him for several things, but the entertainment requires a better observer than I.


Pillow Book is definitely an assault on the senses. There are segments where the screen has no less than five completely different things happening at once. Several small inset screens will show something too fast to perceive while the main image is overlaid with another, and a translation of the lyrics in the soundtrack scrolls underneath. This may be really spiffy in a theater, or examined at a snail's pace, but it's frustrating otherwise.


What the movie has in visual abuse, it lacks in characters. The main character takes revenge on a publisher for the indignities he has inflicted on her father and her boyfriend. By the time I got far enough into the movie to understand the destination, I was ready to quit. I didn't find any of the characters interesting, and resolution seemed very distant. I wasn't privy to whatever collective consciousness Greenaway taps. Even worse, Greenaway's background as a still painter has a noticeable effect on his movie-making, and I'm just not capable of appreciating it.

Other Opinions

Copyright 1998-2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.