Synopses & Reviews
The classic portrayal of court life in tenth-century Japan
Written by the court gentlewoman Sei Shonagon, ostensibly for her own amusement, The Pillow Book offers a fascinating exploration of life among the nobility at the height of the Heian period, describing the exquisite pleasures of a confined world in which poetry, love, fashion, and whim dominated, while harsh reality was kept firmly at a distance. Moving elegantly across a wide range of themes including nature, society, and her own flirtations, Sei Shonagon provides a witty and intimate window on a woman's life at court in classical Japan.
Peter Greenaway's new film was originally conceived in admiration for a classic of Japanese literature, 'The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon', an informal diary of the reminiscences of a lady-in-waiting at the court of a Heian Empress.