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In the realm of the senses


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Product Details

  • Actors: Tatsuya Fuji, Eiko Matsuda, Aoi Nakajima, Yasuko Matsui, Meika Seri
  • Directors: Nagisa Ôshima
  • Writers: Nagisa Ôshima
  • Producers: Anatole Dauman
  • Format: Color, DVD-Video, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: All RegionsAll Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NC-17
  • Studio: Fox Lorber/Vid Can.
  • Release Date: July 30 2002
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1572528338
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #82,831 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Amazon.ca

Nagisa Oshima's sensational, 1976 film concerns a woman (Eiko Matsuda) whose obsessive sexual relationship with her husband (Tatsuya Fuji) crosses the line from passion into the territory of life and death. One of the most sexually explicit films ever to play in mainstream theaters (though it did run into legal trouble both in the U.S. and Japan), it has an air of palpable doom, suggesting that sex can be a doorway to suicide. Lest this sound like grunge-era noodling over dreams of self-destruction, be assured that the Kyoto-born Oshima (Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence) takes a somewhat formal, middle-aged perspective on the conjunction of various mysteries of existence. --Tom Keogh

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Denny Vu Quach on May 16 2004
Format: DVD
Nagisa Oshima has achieved what few other directors have managed in dealing with the very touchy subject of sex, in this instance, with sexual obsession. If you plan to watch this movie for a cheap sexual thrill, you will be most disappointed. Oshima has drawn from a real incident reported in a 1936 Japanese newspaper. The film centers around the love between two people expressed physically, graphically, into realms of the senses where few dare to tread. And with good reason. This is a very intense film as it progresses from the attraction of two people through increasing experimentation in an effort not only to express their passion but to try to find the outer most limits of passion itself. Oshima must have had something metaphorical in mind but the journey as chronicled in the film also has retained the feel of the specifics. It's quirkey and eccentric. The backdrop of the story is as interesting as the story itself. It is an amazing spectacle to observe, giving the viewer a perspective on Japanese life not usually rendered but often alluded to in some historical accounts. One wonders what this experience must have been like for the actors. Oshima has managed what I have always believed should be done in order to treat the subject of sex fully and without shrinking from its' less savory aspects. This is serious minded erotica and quite unlike anything else on screen. The only other film I can recall that compares at all is "Taxi Zum Klo" which was autobiographical and starred a number of actual people playing themselves.Obviously a different catagory in that regard from what is going on here, but both films draw much of their power from explicitly sexual scenes without compromising the integrity of the story being told. This is a film experience that should not be missed.
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Format: DVD
Many of you looking at this particular item might be well aware of foreign cinema, in all of it's delightfully un-Hollywood sentimentality. If you've seen the movie - which I'll assume some of you have - you might have already formed a very specific opinion about it. Perhaps the reason why is because the subject matter is very extreme, and it'd be more than a little difficult to walk away and not feel something. Initially, I was disgusted. I changed my mind, and I thought I'd share my reasoning here.
First of all, let's say for the sake of argument that the world has various standards when it comes to morality in any film dealing with adult issues. Some of you may have seen Lars Von Trier's "Dogville" and thought to yourself: "That's one skewed paradigm." Be that as it may, it's no less plausible than the cinematic - or philosophic - paradigm of Steven Spielberg. My point here is that we all look at and engage realities in a different way - and Japanese cinema is no different. In his revelatory book "Eros in Hell," Jack Hunter explores Japanese "pink cinema." This film is among hundreds produced in an odd era of Japanese filmmaking. Comparable with American "blue movies," pinku eiga moved to explore the boundaries of s*x as art, but also the psychological implications between the graphic evidence.
It'd be easy to refer to this genre of filmmaking as horror/pornography; the more difficult path is examining it in the same light you might examine a film by Adriane Lyne or David Cronenberg. Their general aesthetic is curiously akin to Japanese pink films. So here's the breakdown: this film is, in my opinion, an exploration of s*x as statement which is then turned on it's head to direct it's audience in considering the right questions.
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Format: DVD
By now everyone knows this film is about a sexually-obsessed woman who strangles and then cuts off her lover's willie (the extent to which her lover shared in the extremety of her obsession is somewhat debatable...). That notwithstanding, the film is well-acted, visually stylish, and manages to convey a genuine feeling for the passion which drove the characters. It's also succinct (at 96 minutes) and has some fabulous sex scenes.
The real-life case of 'Abe Sada' (Abe is the family name) was very well known in Japan, occurring almost 40 years before Oshima made this film. There are at least two other cinematic versions of the events. If anything, reality was even a bit stranger than fiction: in the real-life case Abe was arrested whilst carrying around the severed member in her kimono sash. I saw a photograph of her once, taken just after her arrest: you have never seen a more haunted-looking woman.
The original Japanese title of the film is 'Ai no Corrida,' 'Ai' means 'love', but, interestingly, 'Corrida' is not a Japanese word at all: it's a Spanish word meaning 'dash' 'sprint' or 'spurt', and is most often used in the expression 'Corrida de Toros' -- i.e. bullfight -- strongly alluding to the brutal (and inevitable) death of the bull at the end. This puts quite a different complexion on the theme of the film than does the Western distributor's title of 'In the Realm of the Senses' which seems to imply sensual pleasure which has perhaps unintentionally got out of hand.
Oshima's stock-in-trade has always been the 'shocking' film, usually made with the aim of confronting 'bourgeous' sensibilities or an accepted view of society or history. In the 1960's they were more of the socio-political variety (e.g.
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