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IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES

Japan / France, 1976 (MIFF 1977)

Director: Nagisa Oshima

A film about a grand passion, an insatiable love based on a real case in Japan concerning the relationship between Kichizo, a married inn-keeper, and Sada, a serving girl Their brief and intense affair in 1936 ended with Sada killing her lover, and being found four days later, wandering the streets of Tokyo According to the film s director, Nagisa Oshima her name in Japan is still synonymous with the breaking of sexual taboos.

In his reconstruction of the story, the characters spend almost the entire film making love in twenty different rooms, and almost as many positions They make love while they eat, talk, play music receive visitors Oshima says 'I wanted gestures and words emanating from one language the sexual language Had it been different I would consider my film a failure. The chosen space is certainly that of Love and of Death, and to me it covers the whole of Japan.

The couple literally lock themselves away to indulge their passion, although they are interrupted by chamber maids geisha girls and tea ladies They draw outsiders into their enclosed world to heighten their own pleasure The erotic intensity of their activity increases as they experiment with voyeurism, making love in places where they risk being discovered and mild sado-masochism. Each is on occasion unfaithful to the other he with his wife, she with an elderly client, to earn money for food But they return to their own incessant coupling, and at the end, death stands as an integral and final part of their pleasure, so that each of them can possess the other absolutely.

Oshima describes the relation between physical passion and death as ‘an indissoluble link. In the ecstasy of love, the cry is: ‘I'm dying''.

See also...

BOY

Japan, 1969
An itinerant family of four makes a living by faking road accidents as pedestrians, with the drivers of expensive cars as victims. The game is to claim indemnity from the driver in the hope that he w… More »

VENGEANCE IS MINE

Japan, 1979
Shohei lmamura has been making films in Japan for nearly two decades and it is only further evidence of the West's near complete ignorance of Japanese art and artists that his work has barely raised … More »

First Footage

France, 1984
As a result of assiduous research, Levy has uncovered footage from the first films of the masters of documentary: (oris Ivens Olga Alexandrova Vertova, lean Rouch Frederick Wiseman and Nagisa Oshima … More »

DEAR SUMMER SISTER

Japan, 1972
Oshima, the celebiated director of Boy, the Ceremony, and Diary of a Shinkuju Thief, probes the effects of the USA occupation on the indigenous culture of the inhabitants of Okinawa, and explores the… More »

EMPIRE OF PASSION

Japan/France, 1978
Nagisa Oshima, in his companion piece to his celebrated Empire of the Senses, once again turns to the subject of passion and death, and once again, to a real happening — this time taking place … More »

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