Day fifty: The Pillow Book (April, 28)

It is curious - and also kind of scaring - how some ideas get residence on our minds for years and years without reason. 

I don't really know why, but I always thought about Peter Greenaway as a favorite director of mine. I had one of his movies in my waiting-to-see stack of DVDs. But, while watching The Pillow Book, that I had  bought many years ago,  I wasn't able to remember why or when this idea took place in me. 

At first, it was a surreal trip to the 90's. I felt like I was at one of the film clubs, popular at the time in my city, but unfortunately not so anymore. I could smell the stale air of the old air conditioning, and feel the seat bellow me, see the other patrons around. It was eerie. That sense was so familiar to me, however I had lost it along the years without even noticing. 

The movie is certainly beautifully crafted. the plot, captivating: how generations and generations can be imprinted in us. How the pain and obsessions of our parents can be marked on our skins and souls. How injustices and prejudices of others can be perpetuated in our own story. Tales of lost, pain, violence, angst, love, hope. To picture it, Greenaway is a master of intense images and narrative. 

But I must say, Nagiko, the protagonist, is overly annoying - not even a constantly naked young Ewan McGregor is able to soften it It is not possible to relate to her in order to feel her pain and need. I'm not saying that she should be portrayed as weak or sweet or anything. Nevertheless, she was a persistent nuisance, and for me the whole point in this story was lost in it. A story that uses language and words to figure what is permanently imprinted in our stories. 

After the film, I looked at Greenaway's filmography, but couldn't find any other of his productions that would explain my admiration for the Welsh cineast. But the idea that had stayed with me for so long is over now. Maybe it will return after seeing one of this other movies. Maybe, but it is not likely.

The Pillow Book. Directed and written by Peter Greeenaway, from the
book by Sei Shonagon. With: Vivian Wu, Ewan McGregor, Yoshi Oida.
Netherlands/UK/France/Luxembourg, 1996, 126 min., Dolby/Dolby SR,
Color,/Black and White (DVD).

PS: This post has a lot of more images than usual, but I couldn't choose just one, they are all so beautiful and relevant to the story - and there's many more. 

1 comment:

  1. Funny, I had a similar thing with Sofia Coppola. I reserved "Lost in translation" in my mind for nine years, just knowing I'd like it. And when I finally watched it, it left its imprint for life. I loved it more than I expected to.

    I'm a sucker for McGregor, and always had this one in the back of mind, but maybe I'll put it off for a little longer and enjoy his other films before this one. After all, there's plenty of options, which is part of what I love about Ewan's work. There're some many of his films on my watch list and some on my rewatch list :)

    [ j ]