Pillow Book

directed by Peter Greenaway, produced by Keew Kasander

Starring Vivian Wu, Ewan McGregor

in 1996, British Director Peter Greenaway used a traditional Japanese literary style, called "Zuihitu", free association of thoughts and "following the brush". He expressed the art of Calligraphy to his movie.

Ostensibly the story of a young Japanese woman, who escaped from Japan to Hong Kong, infatuated with the erotic possibilities of traditional Sino-Japanese calligraphy, Greenaway and his picture-perfect cast weave so many interlacing threads into the story, and so many curious subtexts -- stylistic and otherwise -- that it sometimes leaves us scratching our heads in wonderment. It's beautiful, but what does it mean? Vivian Wu plays Nagiko, who, upon first encounter, is a little girl in Kyoto.

According to the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon (Makura no Soshi), writing a pillow book was a widespread practice among literate man and women, to keep their journal by their pillows in which they could record stray thoughts and impressions. Sei Shonagon's "Pillow Book" is the sole surviving Heian-period work for the Japanese art. It was an informal collections of notes and thoughts and constituted a genre of prose fiction in Heian period, but it evolved to "Zuihitsu", free associations of thoughts and "following the brush".

Most of the scenes in the movie were made at the studio, but one Hong Kong street scene was used repeatedly, of the "Swindon Book Store" in Tsimshatsui, Kowloon Penninsula.