This story is based on the novel "Jo No Mai" by Tomiko Miyao which is based on the life of painter Shōen Uemura (1875–1949), the first woman to be awarded the Order of Culture. The title refers to the masterpiece bijinga ("picture of a beautiful woman") that Uemura painted at the age of 61. The main character, Tsuya Shimamura, is born in Kyoto as the second daughter of a tea trader who dies before her birth. Tsuya, who loves painting more than anything and is hopeless at housework, attends art school and at age 15 receives the name Shōsui (from the characters for "pine" and "green") from her teacher.
Two teenage friends conspire to find out how much their youthful sensuality can disrupt one of their households, headed by a dentist and his mentally-ill wife. Besides the stunning Eleonora Giorgi and Ornella Muti, one should also mention particularly the very good performance of Valentina Cortese, as the mother on the verge of a breakdown.
Russian pianist Mikhail Pletnev has an astoundingly clean and virtuosic technique. He has the ability to bring out inner voices that in some other recordings are completely lost. These skills are sometimes enough to make his interpretations of these three early and middle period Beethoven sonatas completely satisfying. The third movement of the "Moonlight" Sonata, for example, is absolutely electrifying in its virtuosity. The first movement of the"Waldstein" and the final movement of "Appassionata" are brisk, energetic, and always completely under control. Movements such as these, where the performer's technique truly comes to the forefront, are absolutely satisfying here.