Friday, January 29, 2016

Movie Review: In the Realm of the Senses (Ai no korîda)

In the Realm of the Senses (Ai no korîda) a.k.a Empire of the Senses a.k.a The Realm of the Senses a.k.a L'empire des sens
Argos Films, Oshima Productions, Shibata Organisation, Japan, 1976. 
In the Realm of the Senses titles
This film is absolutely not for kids! The story is based on an incident in 1930s Japan. Sada Abe (Eiko Matsuda) works as a maid in Kichizo Ishida's (Tatsuya Fuji) hotel. Sada is a former prostitute and she is harassed by old pervert (Taiji Tonoyama) until she agrees to have sex with him but cold weather plays its tricks on the old man. 
Eiko Matsuda
Sada Abe
Tatsuya Fuji
Kichizo Ishida
Insatiable Kichizo seduces nymphomaniac Sada. Secretly from Kichizo's wife Toku (Aoi Nakajima) they start a series of sexual experimentations in a hotel. The experimentations go more extreme with exhibitionism and sadomasochism. They gain notoriety in the hotel and the geisha's servicing them begin to shun them. Their obsession gets deeper and more self-destructive. 

The movie shocked the audiences with explicit sex scenes and violent conclusion. It was groundbreaking despite not being the first mainstream movie containing pornographic scenes. Now similarly themed movies are again on the spotlight with the exploits of art house directors such as Lars Von Trier and Gaspar Noe. Even today the scenes are very explicit and disturbing and more than general audiences can handle. Ôshima's direction guarantees stylishly made period drama about destructive obsession but storywise the film is quite thin and offers little besides depictions of sex acts, I got a little bored. Of Ôshima films I have seen, I would rate "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" and "Gohatto" higher. 

Part of The 2016 Movie Watching Challenge (#37. Movie that is or has been banned somewhere in the world) 

Rating: Good

Starring: Tatsuya Fuji, Eiko Matsuda, Aoi Nakajima, Yasuko Matsui, Meika Seri, Kanae Kobayashi, Taiji Tonoyama, Kyôji Kokonoe, Naomi Shiraishi, Shinkichi Noda, Komikichi Hori, Kikuhei Matsunoya, Akiko Koyama, Yuriko Azuma, Rei Minami, Machiko Aoki, Mariko Abe, Kyôko Okada, Kiyomi Yasuda, Hiroko Fuji, Tômi Mitsuboshi, Kimiko Ishii, Katsue Tamiyama, Hitomi Fukuhara, Hiroko Fujino, Kazune Tomiyama
Director: Nagisa Ôshima

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