Peter Greenaway is an English filmmaker born on April 5, 1942 in Newport, Wales. As a child, he had his sights set on becoming a painter, but he also maintained a love for cinema and storytelling. He cites his main cinematic influences as Ingmar Bergman, Jean-Luc Godard, and Alain Resnais. After graduating from high school, he attended the Walthamstow College of Art and during that time created his first movie entitled Death of Sentiment.
In 1996, Greenaway released a feature film, The Pillow Book, starring Vivian Wu, Yoshi Oida, and Ewan McGregor. It tells the story of a Japanese model named Nagiko who possesses a fetish for men writing calligraphy on her body. She moves from lover to lover, searching for the ideal man who can fulfill her sexual desires. She finds that in one Englishman she encounters named Jerome. This film, rated NC-17, consists of numerous sensual scenes and nudity.
Upon its release, The Pillow Book garnered many positive reviews for its explicit and realistic portrayal of sexuality. Janet Maslin of The New York Times describes it as “a richly sensual stylistic exercise filled with audaciously beautiful imagery, captivating symmetries and brilliantly facile tricks.” It ultimately grossed $2.4 million at the US box office and won numerous awards, including Best Cinematography at the Art Film Festival and British Actor of the Year (Ewan McGregor) at the London Critics Circle Film Awards.