In the Realm of the Senses (Uncut NC-17 Version)

 
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Product Description

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

Customer Reviews:

  • Interesting movie...
    I have to say that this movie is most certainly not one for everyone. That's quite obvious from it's NC-17 rating, and the fact that it was banned for quite some time.

    But aside from that.... It's an interesting movie about obsession and sex. The characters don't really get too deep, and you don't necessarily feel much sympathy for them, but that's part of the point of the film. You're supposed to feel the obsession, and the fact that the two lovers really only ever have sex on their minds, that it's taken over their lives.

    It's graphic, violent even, with tons of sex... But if you know what you're getting into and can look beyond just the simple act of sex, you might find it a worthwhile movie....more info

  • In the Realm of the Senseless
    This is no deep philosophical dissertation on the human condition. There is sex as an obsession between a man of wealth and a waitress/prostitute. The film may not be considered particularly sensuous or erotic, but portrays a man and a woman enslaved by their libido. Interesting is the backdrop of Japan with its old-school traditional mores and standards of acceptable behavior. The video quality over the previous Fox-Lorber standard DVD is much improved. The subtitles are clearer in the Blu-ray. This is clearly a movie that may have esoteric and cultural value. The Blu-ray movie through Amazon is the full un-edited version, not R-rated as Amazon indicates....more info
  • NC-17-RATED HARDCORE PORN FOR ADULTS
    This movie is pretty good for all mature adults. However, it is not for squemish people. Some people may be offended by the explicit sex scenes and graphic nudity. I think any guy would want to have this one in their private collection. Definitely not for children though....more info
  • In the Realm of the Senses
    The best movie of life in japan i`ve seen and i have several. But they don`t reach this movie. It was very daring. ( I liked the crotch shots) My other movies seem in complete. This movie made you want to live there in those times!!!!!...more info
  • Explicit art
    It was not, to be honest, one of the films in the world I have enjoyed the most. The Japanese fascination with pain is a bit odd to me.

    But it is well made, and it proved an important point: that the western idea that sex or nudity must not be shown in a serious film is just wrong. It only seems wrong to show nudity or sex when the film makers are trying at the same time *not* to do it. If it is a natural part of the film, there is no problem whatsoever.

    It is a pity that we can only see sex or nudity in porn films, for they are always attrociously bad....more info

  • Not worthy of a glance!
    This was the worst film I have ever seen. I did not find anything erotic in this film. It seemed like if these characters were going to the toliet!! A big disappointment!...more info
  • A porn film with a plot
    This review is for the Criterion Collection of the film.

    In the Realm of the Senses, directed by Nagisa Oshima, is a film about a couple.

    The film was made in Japan, but heavily censored there due to the sexually explicit content. This is the most sexually explicit film ever released on DVD by the Criterion Collection and is on par with hard-core pornography.

    A majority of the film contains sexually explicit scenes, which make this more of a porn film, than an actual movie in my opinion. I had a hard time watching it due to this.

    The DVD contains some special features worth watching though, including a 1976 interview with the filmmakers, audio commentary by Tony Rayns, a new interview with lead actor Tatsuya Fuji, a theatrical trailer, and some deleted scenes.

    ...more info
  • Too rough for me
    Doesn't live up to the hype. No lack of nudity, but charged with violence. Certainly not erotic by western standards....more info
  • It took me five years to get a copy!
    It took me five years to get a copy and I treasure it! You do not know how the human mind will go in search of sexual pleasure until you watch this movie. This movie is not for mentally disturbed people, it is not for minors, and not for the faint hearted people. This movie is used for psychology courses as a prime example of human sexuality and mental diseases. If you want to see real raw sex and a really interesting plot, try to get a copy. Good Luck!...more info
  • DON'T MISS THIS FILM
    wonderful film!! best viewed in a relaxed setting with someone you love. don't be afraid..... this is a masterpiece of erotic art. it will be a film you will not forget... go ahead you can do it ... click that buy button on your computer this little film will not let you down. ( no pun intended )....more info
  • one of my faves
    this film is a reaction to a tradition of soft core japanese films from the sixties. it subverts a genre by infusing it with primal messy human emotions. kinda genius. im impressed. ...more info
  • A sensational and classic film about intense eroticism, passion, and obsession
    I watched this movie as part of an effort to round out my experiences with classic, controversial, and sensational films. I knew that the movie had faced numerous censorship challenges, but I wasn't quite prepared for what I saw on-screen. This is no pornography, which actually makes it harder to watch, because it is intense, real, vivid, unflinching, and in no way stylized. The pacing, especially at the beginning, is very slow, which makes it all the more life-like and not Hollywood-like. To anyone who is considering watching the movie for the first time, I recommend reading a little about the true story the film is based on. There is a lack of development of the backstory on screen, and knowing the details makes the film much more interesting....more info
  • Poor DVD edition of a great movie
    The complaints about the Fox Lorber edition of this movie are unfortunately justified. 7-8 out of the original 104 minutes have been cut, reducing the movie to about 96-97 minutes. The movie is reproduced poorly in pan-scan. The scene access is haphazard and often into the middle of a scene and not the beginning (in short useless). The quality of the video transfer is not great, although I would have accepted that if it were not for the butchered editing and cuts.

    7 minutes does not seem that serious until you realize the film is robbed of parts or entire scenes which made it shocking and unique (as well as almost banned) at the time. The jacket does not mention the cuts, and lists the original length of 104 minutes. I do not have any other Fox Lorber editions in my library, and this will not make me want to purchase others.

    The movie is still shocking and fascinating in its portrayal of the main characters as well as the background against which it is set, but the cuts shorten and obscure the key scenes. Hard to say if I would consider the movie pornographic, or even erotic, but it certainly does not lose its impact even though 25 years have passed since I originally saw it when it made its original art-house appearance in the US.

    I give it three stars only because of the original material, and not this DVD edition. This is a unique piece of moviemaking considering the original 1976-77 release date, and to my knowledge there is currently no better alternative in the US. I would suggest to anyone who decides to purchase this DVD to look up and read one of the detailed reviews and synopsis of the movie online, to get a better idea of the missing material....more info

  • Nagisa Oshima's explicit and controversial film on the infamous case of Sada Abe
    "For four days, carrying the part she'd severed from his body, Sada wandered through Tokyo. Those arresting her were astounded that she glowed with happiness. The story shocked all of Japan. The compassion of the people made her strangely popular. These events took place in 1936."

    As described by the final voice over of the narrator, the subject matter of "In the Realm of the Senses" is the most lurid true story to come out of Japan in the years before World War II. On May 18, 1936, a woman named Sada Abe strangled her lover, Kichizo Ishida, during sex at the hotel he owned. Sada was a maid in the household, having apparently retired from being a prostitute, and began an affair with her master that explored passion and pain during sex. That he would permit her to erotically asphyxiate him might have been enough to make this story a national sensation, but after Kichizo was dead she amputated his genitals and carried them with her as she wandered the streets of Tokyo for several days before she was arrested.

    Nagisa Oshima's 1976 film tells the story of this troubled relationship, although it does not end with Sada's capture, but with her holding her dead lover after she has taken her grisly memento and written "Sada and Kichi, now one" in his blood on his chest while we hear the finally narration. Prior to that the film is about the dynamic of the relationship between Sada and Kichizo, with their sexual relationship explicitly presented as they travel the road to their entwined destiny. Consequently, I would consider "In the Realm of the Senses" to be a dramatic film with explicit sex scenes rather than a pornographic film with strong dramatic elements. What you think of the film might well depend on whether you consider the sex scenes to be gratuitous or erotic, although certainly there are other reactions. Simply knowing what you are going to see may be more than enough to dissuade you from seeing the film.

    For me the eroticism is tempered by the omnipresent fact that in the end Sada is going to kill Kichizo and amputate his genitals, and there is nothing sexual in the film that is going to make me forget what is going to happen in the end. Nor is there anything here to suggest that the director is thinking otherwise. In the climactic scene the camera is shooting from in front of the couple, with the emphasis on his bound hands and her pulling on the scarf around his neck to cut off his air, and not on where their bodies are joined. Their sexual pathology is displayed and not explained, but I do not think Oshima can be faulted for failing to explain the unexplainable. We see how their sexual activity moves in inexorably in its fatal direction, and how the willingness to go beyond all the way becomes part of their attraction to each other. Ultimately the question is not whether the film is sexual, but whether the true story it tells feels real, and by that standard I think it succeeds.

    The movie is currently rated NC-17, but was obviously first rated X by the MPAA. Oshima was unable to finish the film in Japan because of censorship laws, which is why the production is officially listed as being French and the undeveloped footage was shipped to France for both processing and editing. In Japan the sexual activity has been optically censored ever since the 1976 premier. The United States and the Netherlands are some of the only countries where the film has been available in completely uncut editions.

    Sada was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison, but her sentence was commuted in 1940. Assuming an alias she married, but her husband divorced her when he discovered her identity. She then became an actress, actually portraying herself in several productions about the infamous incident, but after 1970 she dropped from sight and her final fate remains unknown. In addition to "In the Realm of the Senses," the story has been told cinematically in "A Woman Called Sada Abe" (1975) and "Sada" (1998). However, this version is far and away the most notorious, and for good reason. For many people simply hearing her story is enough and they will have no desire to see it depicted cinematically. Certainly my curiosity is satiated on the matter. ...more info
  • May Float Your Boat or Sink Your Ship
    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.

    Jack Hunter's book will point out that this film in particular is an exception - in that while it shared a genre and a content with it's contemporaries, the bigger picture might actually have been a statement about pink cinema all together. Consider, as you watch, that the s*x is almost cartoonish in it's frequency, that the humor is dry and nonchalant, and that the ending lends itself to a whole different mindset. Without giving too much away, the end is similar to "The Night Porter," or "Dead Ringers."

    These comparisons are primarily in reference to the climactic scenes in each - where our hero and heroine (in spite the difficulty with which they hold the title) pull out of the outside world completely into some kind of isolated space. Up to this point we've seen our protagonists weather scrutiny and obstacles to be fulfilled. In fact we - the audience - have done most of the scrutinizing and castigating. I know I wasn't rooting for these people for the better part of their respective stories, but I felt as if I were driving them away into reclusiveness by lacking compassion for them.

    Only when each set of characters are alone do we start to feel less accusatory and unforgiving. We realize - or so the hope might be - that their's is a deep spiritual bond. One you might expect to see between to loveable Hollywood starlets in a romantic comedy. But that isn't exactly the way things are. Though this example is relatively melodramatic, you can understand why they have arrived at such an intimacy.

    They've reached that place with each other because we, the audience, didn't believe they could. We passed them off as s*x-crazed sociopaths. And honestly, they were. But I think a real interesting point the film made to me was how deeply they were connected in spite of the superficial s*xuality. This is a hard-learned lesson, and one you'll have to dig deep for. But consider for a moment that America doesn't own the patent on love stories, and that additionally love stories aren't always cute or clean or pure. Perhaps from the filmmaker's perspective love was an ugly, dirty thing - until it existed in a place where it was solemnly understood.

    And without the world coming down on the protagonists - from without the constraints of society or the status quo - their particular kind of love was much easier to understand. I'm not saying that you'll instantly say to yourself: "Hey, wait a second... that was just love, not graphic s*x." I just took it with a grain of salt and thought of it as a near-parody. The fact of the matter is that you can point out blatant exaggerations in a great deal of Japanese contemporary media, and this film is no exception.

    This obviously does not solve the problem of "just too much graphic s*x for my liking."

    "The Night Porter," directed by Liliana Cavani, is somewhat less intense. That isn't to say it's devoid of intensity, or that you'll have a nice dinner-date movie on hand. It is to say that the s*xual content is far less prominent - and miraculously it gets the same point across in it's decidedly more watered-down, Western way. And as far as I'm concerned, that message is "intimacy can't be readily depicted in cinema without alienating the audience, because ideally - intimacy is a very exclusive thing."

    It takes a patient person to watch "In The Realm of the Senses." It takes a lot of courage to appreciate it. However, save for the actors (or in the case of "In the Realm..." the real-life people it was inspired by) - don't expect anyone to completely understand the intimacy. This film will haunt some of you with that prospect....more info

  • In the realm of the misogynist Gutter
    First off-this movie isn't"sensual" at all--unless you're into female abuse/degradation--not that the male lead doesn't get his share of abuse at the movies end. Basically, a rich guy "F's" like a jack rabbit--every female he can get his slimy hands on.
    One rather unbalanced woman decides she wants his attention to be hers alone--but of course he doesn't comply. Both leads are unlikeable--the sex is either very "R" or barely "X"--take your pick--but it's pointless either way. The story is dull-even played at fast speed and reading the sub-titles--this movie moves too slowly to be interesting.
    I'm not offended by pornography--and by pornographic standards--this movie's sex isn't all that explicit--but it's also pretty darn boring--
    ...more info
  • This isn't even a movie
    Ok, just so you know, I'm a fan of all things Japanese. I speak the language, and I have absolutely nothing against porn. I also love good movies. This movie is neither of those things, unfortunately. It tries to walk a fine line between porn and "art" and in doing so, fails miserably at both. For people who are saying it has such a great "story" I'm not sure what movie they saw, but it wasn't this. There is LITERALLY no story to speak of, other than the last five minutes, really. The remainder of the movie is a string of sex scenes (which ironically would have been better if they had just accepted this was basically a porno and done them right) which are held together by meaningless, short dialogue, usually about their sexual life together.

    As I said, a full on porno would have been much better, and it would've only been a fraction of a step off what this was. If you are going to make a movie, at least give us something along the lines of dialogue, motivation, SOMETHING. This was a monumental disaster....more info
  • Sorry....it just ends up missing "something" special
    Capt. Freaky has seen them all folks...even some of the ones you were never supposed to see! This film reaches out and attempts to provide the viewer with some radical sex scenes...and often does...the question becomes, why are we not excited while watching them? The answer is...because the actors seem to be "acting" out their respective roles.

    It's as transparent as an old 1960's TV show....its as if you can just hear someone off screen teling them, "pull her hair", "now rub her crotch", "jump on top of her" etc. etc.
    I know all of these types of films made in the 1970's were made to titilate the audiences with odd sex...shocking perversions..and kinky overtones. And for that...this film succeeds and garners 3 stars from me.

    I do like to watch an egg come out of a woman's vulva however...it would have been much freakier if I believed that "she liked it" too!

    I don't know...if you like most Japanese kink...this film is for you! I just think they always seem to fall short in the "erotic" department...I'll stick to the kinky European stuff...they sell it to you "classier" while the Jap's sell it to you "harder"! Its as if the Asian mafia's make these women do these scenes in their movies....while the Europeans had kinky young teens lining up without their underwear on, to make the films they used to produce back in the '70s!

    The tradition of sex films made underground over in Europe continues to this day....now these young, horny, teenage girls in the recently freed Eastern European nations, are in to making low budget, "hard core porno" films that show very "realistic" rape scenes and other very graphic sexual depictions. What was once the capital of crude and unusual sex films, is now the captial of "real exploitation film making"....but alas...that is not a subject for the "Amazon customer" to be discussing here....This film may have gotten the ball rolling over in Japan for more XXX rated films...but it falls short in delivering the goods for Capt. Freaky....more info
  • A Waste of Time
    If you want to watch something erotic, save your money and get something else.

    I find the self-righteousness and pretentiousness of Japanese cinema in general to be a bit of a joke, and this is no exception. There is nothing redeeming about this movie. The acting is.. well, what acting? The endless sex is non-sequential and torturous to watch. When the movie finally ends, it leaves you nauseated and engrossed, wondering to what you have just subjected yourself. Even a glance of the DVD cover may become unbearable. Instead of turning you on, this movie might turn you way off....more info

  • BORING, distasteful, waste of your precious time!!!
    i am by no means turned off by tastefully done sex scenes, but this movie was just a huge disappointment. i had been curious about it for a while, and when i finally got around to seeing it, it was almost entirely 104 minutes of meaningless, unhealthy, obsessive and unexciting sex. in my book, this movie IS a porn, as all the sex is as graphic as pornos, including oral sex and what follows the act, if you get my groove. although not a typical "money shot," this was surely another version of it, and which i could have gone elsewhere to watch if that's what i had wanted to see [and *ahem*, with well-endowed people, *ahem*.] given that the main woman is an ex-prostitute, perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised that she has limited pass-times and has allowed herself to become such an instrument with limited capabilities, but clearly I refuse to believe that every prostitute in the world is that mechanical and devoid of any substance not pertaining to sex. On a final note, I even watched this with a guy, and it did not take long for us to become bored with both the movie AND the sex [which are pretty much one and the same here], and the conclusion to it just made us feel like we'd wasted money renting this when we could have [and should have] watched something else. Would highly recommend anything... BUT this!!...more info
  • a comment on the DVD transfer itself . . .
    Please DO NOT waste your money on this DVD. I'm not commenting on the film content itself. This is the most shoddy treatment of a film that I have ever seen. I was so disappointed when I got this in the mail and played it. It is truly horrible. There is a lot of grain, colors are flat and terrible, images are fuzzy and objects look slightly stretched from top to bottom. I'm really not a stickler for DETAIL, but this DVD is literally awful. If you like this movie, then just wait until some other company does it justice. There is no joy watching it in its present DVD form. It's as if someone found an old, beat up VHS copy of this movie and transferred it to DVD. I guess it all boils down to money -sad....more info
  • A popular J-horror flick
    This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.

    Empire of Passion, or Ai no borei, is it is called in Japan, is about a woman who desires to murder her husband and throw his body down a well.

    This film is said to be a follow up to In the Realm of the Senses, both have themes of sex and death, but the sexual content of this film is far less explicit as In the Realm of the Senses.

    I liked the film more than the previous one, mainly due the the less explicit content and a more comprehensible plot, but I also liked the scenery and the story. One can imagine that the Ring films got their plot device of a well from this one.

    The film has some good special features also, but I caution you that one of them contains a scene from In the Realm of the Senses that is very graphic.

    The features are, a video essay by film historian, Catherine Russell
    Interviews with the lead actors, A 2003 interview with various production crew, a theatrical trailer, and an optional English dub...more info
  • Work of Art in Double X
    Not for the timid who blush at raw passion !!! I first saw the film in '77 at Detroit Institute of Art and still consider the film a masterpiece in the study of sensual pleasure without restraint. ...more info
  • It took me five years to get a copy!
    It took me five years to get a copy and I treasure it! You do not know how the human mind will go in search of sexual pleasure until you watch this movie. This movie is not for mentally disturbed people, it is not for minors, and not for the faint hearted people. This movie is used for psychology courses as a prime example of human sexuality and mental diseases. If you want to see real raw sex and a really interesting plot, try to get a copy. Good Luck!...more info
  • Buy Obayashi's "Sada" instead
    Pretty much just crud. The people who saw this as high art in the 70's have to be really embarrassed now. Take it as a warning, when the best quote they can come up with on the jacket is from Madonna.

    As a positive, the lead actress has incredible dimples.

    Buy Obayashi's "Sada" instead from Home Vision. Same story, but done by a director with some real artistic ability....more info
  • This MOVIE [is weak]!
    And not just the chick!

    I was expecting something a little bit more interesting, but I didn't realize that sex could bo sooooooooo boring! Gimme a break. This movie is just plain horrible. Boring boring and more boring. ARGH! Why did I punish myself with such madness? I have seen better erotic movies that were not as explicit like Judou with the incredible Gong Li. Watch out for the sex scene involving bolts of red silk! Fantastic!...more info

  • Not that good...to put it lightly
    Some eroticism, more of a soft-core porn movie but unlike most of those there is the plot. The problem is perhaps that some of that plot gets lost in the translation, and there is much about Sada that goes unsaid and you are left to guess.
    The movie wasn't overly graphic in terms of sex, in my opinion, but the non-sexual images and some of the story was quite freakish. Not worthy of the class people are putting it in on many of their 'most erotic movies' lists... or maybe it's just not a very good movie.
    Was looking for an artistic, erotic masterpiece...this was about as erotic as a clockwork orange, but nowhere that good. Some of the reviews here would have been more helpful--we wish we had read them, but I admit I didn't want to spoil the plot completely.

    ...more info
  • a rock and a hard place
    Fox-Lorber has devised a new level of cruelty for fans of this film. You can have a full-screen version with subtitles or a widescreen version with dubbing. What you need is a widescreen version with subtitles. The dubbing turns this dark parable into a sleazy porno film. The images are carefully and beautifully composed - you don't need them chopped up by pan and scan. In addition, the English language version (the only one I've seen) has horrible 'ghosting' along the edges of any high-contrast contour - it looks like it was dubbed from a poor over-the-air tv transmission! It's also slightly censored - not the version I saw overseas, anyway...Until someone offers a decent DVD version of this film, I recommend passing on these insultingly inferior transfers....more info
  • BORING, distasteful, waste of your precious time!!!
    i am by no means turned off by tastefully done sex scenes, but this movie was just a huge disappointment. i had been curious about it for a while, and when i finally got around to seeing it, it was almost entirely 104 minutes of meaningless, unhealthy, obsessive and unexciting sex. in my book, this movie IS a porn, as all the sex is as graphic as pornos, including oral sex and what follows the act, if you get my groove. although not a typical "money shot," this was surely another version of it, and which i could have gone elsewhere to watch if that's what i had wanted to see [and *ahem*, with well-endowed people, *ahem*.] given that the main woman is an ex-prostitute, perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised that she has limited pass-times and has allowed herself to become such an instrument with limited capabilities, but clearly I refuse to believe that every prostitute in the world is that mechanical and devoid of any substance not pertaining to sex. On a final note, I even watched this with a guy, and it did not take long for us to become bored with both the movie AND the sex [which are pretty much one and the same here], and the conclusion to it just made us feel like we'd wasted money renting this when we could have [and should have] watched something else. Would highly recommend anything... BUT this!!...more info
  • Well Made but Repulsive and Sickening
    Every time someone has told me she or he is going to see this film, I always say that I hope they don't find it as upsetting and violent as hubby and I did. Without exception, everyone gets back to me to say that they did find it violent, upsetting, sickening and repulsive. I know it ranks highly on the art house circuit and among film listserv devotees so there are a lot of viewers out there who evidently don't agree with me. The plot is about two asian lovers, a man and woman, and the increasingly sick nature of their relationship, both physically and emotionally. This "relationship" includes acts of mutilation. We found this film so upsetting that we stayed away from the art house theater we then went to for over a month. This was a big absence for us since we went 2-3 times a week prior to seeing this film. I can't imagine seeing this film again and will do anything to avoid doing so. I suppose someone might make a claim that a film that makes this strong an impression on you must have done something positive. I've been waiting for almost two decades to find out what that positive something is....more info
  • satisfied purchase
    worth your time to watch and the money spend....more info
  • Brutal portrait and loaded of dark poetry!
    Seen under the most objective perspective, there have been eight films that have transcended by far the barriers of the conventional frontiers and have become by themselves in authentic wasteland pictures. The breakthrough with the most of canons have been made and surmounted with such level of intensity to constitute apart worlds.

    This film is obviously one of them. The astonishing lust and chilling visual realism will shock you from the first shots. The excesses of the passion had never been shown with such dazzling nakedness ever before.

    The other seven films to my mind, would be: Alain Resnais Night and frog, Pasolini `s Salo, Fassbinder 's Querelle, Marco Ferreri `s Le grand bouffe, Ichikawa `s Fire on the plains, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence and Cavani 's La pelle
    ...more info
  • Eww.
    Some reviewers have commented that all this movie is is a bunch of sex scenes. Actually, I would love to watch a *sexy* movie with a bunch of sex scenes, but that isn't what this is. Lots of scenes are really gross, to me anyway. He puts a boiled egg inside her and she squeezes it out again, she clips off some of his, um, hair and eats it, he rapes an old lady...it's pretty grim and pointless. My husband and I saw this in a theater, and we walked out....more info
  • Passionate and Erotic
    "In the Realm of the Senses"

    Passionate and Erotic

    Amos Lassen

    Everyone who has seen the Japanese film "In the Realm of the Senses" has an opinion, no one seems to have neutral feelings about it. Now we have a new Criterion edition that is loaded with extras that enhance one of the most erotic mainstream movies ever made.
    Until lately the film has been banned or available only in censored versions but now we have the original film just as it was made in the 1970's. Some have hailed it as art while others dismiss it as porn and in reality; it seems to me to be a combination of both. It is serious and it is voyeuristic and prurient. It is not quite a masterpiece but it deserves to be seen as an extreme and taboo breaking film. Once we get past the explicitness there is a real story here with a subtle political context as it deals with the rise of Japanese militarism and nationalism. There is a great deal of explicit sexual contact. The characters are self- destructive and dangerous and sex becomes an expression of their inhumanity.
    Sada and Ishida share a passion foe sex. Sada is the more aggressive of the two and she is both possessive and inflammatory. Ishida is relaxed and submissive and just soaks it all up. As the two fall downward into depravity and self-destruction everything is thrown onto the screen and at us. The film is audacious and it overwhelms but it is so much more than just sex. It examines a world of experimentation and pain as it takes us on a voyage to the unknown. The film deals with the search for fulfillment and pleasure in a world where nothing else matters and reality is discarded. Sada and Ishida separate themselves from all that is real because they know that in order to find true happiness, they must transcend al levels of consciousness and reality. They feel that a few wonderful moments are worth more than any heartache that might follow.
    "In the Realm of the Senses" is a dark and disturbing psychological drama about sexual obsession. It is masterfully directed by Nagisa Oshima and he is known for shocking his audience and doing so usually by confronting bourgeois sensibilities or an accepted view of society or history. Here he added the sexual element and for me it works beautifully.
    The DVD extras include an audio commentary with film scholar Tony Rayns, an interview with the director and lead actors from 1976 an interview with producer, line director, film distributor and assistant director, a new interview with actor Tatsuya Fuji, deleted scenes, improved subtitles and lots of full frontal nudity.
    ...more info
  • Pornography? It doesn't matter!
    I don't want to try and write any kind of review about whether or not this movie is pornography. Frankly, it doesn't matter whether or not is pornographic in nature. I don't even care that there was as much sex in it as there was.

    What bothers me is simply this: there isn't a story. I watched this movie after hearing many different things from many different people--I was told that it was a beautiful story about love, a disturbing story about obsession, a freaky naughty movie, and a brilliant artistic movie. People told me all these things and I watched it hoping to see strong characters and a powerful plot.

    The graphic sex isn't my complaint. Or even the fact that Oshima filmed real sexual acts instead of simulated ones (although that is, to me, a very troubling fact). My complaint is that the movie is an hour and forty minutes, but only about five minutes of that time is spent trying to get us to have any compassion for the characters. The rest of it is spent on sex scenes that never seem to work together to create any semblance of a story.

    What are their motivations? Who knows--it seems like they just want to have sex. Their dreams? Who cares--they're having lots of sex. Are they in love? Who could tell--all they do is have sex and obsess with each other. What are their personalities like, I wonder? You'll never figure it out--the movie spends all of two scenes trying to describe what kinds of people our hero/heroine are. The best I can understand is this: the woman likes to have lots of sex (I'm not being repetitive here--that's actually the line of dialogue that comes out of her mouth), and the man... well, they didn't really talk much about him. But my guess is that his personality involves sex.

    If you want a movie that is disturbing, then by all means watch this one. Oshima does a great job of creating something bizarre and disjarring, but he hardly creates something important (or even entertaining). By the end of the movie, you don't feel as if you have just gained anything from viewing it. Instead, it feels like you've just watched two people have lots of sex... and that's about it.

    People have made much of the beauty of this film, but it is neither erotic or meaningful. With flat characters and non-stop sex sequences (not to mention the aimless, gratuitous rape scenes), it seems less like a movie and more like a documentary on the Nature channel. Swap the Japanese setting with the Serengeti and you'll quickly find yourself wondering why we're calling this movie such a wonderful achievement in cinema. ......more info

  • It is one of the most gripping films to have ever handled sexual obsession...
    "In the realm of Senses" is so wonderfully plotted and expertly acted that it almost has a dream-like effect... It's an erotic fantasy turned nightmare... It is the story of a sexual relationship between a young Japanese couple... At first lustful and erotic, they can't get enough... However, their experiments in sensationalism end in tragedy...

    The film is flavored with strange yet genuinely humorous moments... For example, an older lady chance upon the lovers, and--for the fun of it--the young man initiates a m®¶nage ®§ trois... The incident proves to be so exhilarating that the old woman dies from exhaustion... The scene is played with such vivacity and intensity that--despite the fatal outcome--it does have a strange humorous overtone to it...

    Director Nagisa Oshima developed with great care all the minor details of this affair without ever becoming overbearing or intending to teach... ...more info
  • hot erotic, but ultimately sad classic tale of passion's fate when obsession takes over
    Reviewers are to put it mildly, quite ambivalent about this movie! Some hate it saying it's 'nothing more than porn', others are puzzled by the seeming paradox of such extremes, of both 'love and aggression' existing in the very same tale, especially since the tale's 'hero' and 'heroine' start out, and remain throughout, till the end, a most unlikely pair to choose as one whose love, initially so playful and innocent looking, will grow into something very different. But really, the concept dramatized by this movie, that passion is a turbulent mix of 'love and aggression', is not new. And it can be found in many tales of passion throughout history, and today. These two opposite (but not necessarily opposing if blended right) drives (love/aggression), are to be found, in fact, (as more subtle less extreme forms), in all human activities that passion enters into--i.e. most activities in the 'playground' of being human, in which play park of course, love and sex play starring lead roles! This movie highlights this paradox in such a dramatic way, that we cannot avoid noticing it! However, to KNOW that this paradox exists, in passion, is quite a potential 'eye opener', and one of the basic truths of being human! And this movie did bring it home.
    Also, for me, the movie was quite believable in its portrayal of the crazy slide from lust and playfulness, and thrill-seeking, at first, to obsession, then addiction. As such, the movie's plot makes total sense. It followed the classic pattern of evolution seen in many compulsions--from mild, to moderate, and finally, to extreme, of crazy and destructive activity, that is generated by the obsessive's need to CONSTANTLY UP THE ANTE to ever increasingly extreme stimuli, to maintain the same level of thrill! This pattern, in my view, if accepted by the viewer, makes this movie not at all paradoxical or unbelievable, but a very true and sad classic portrayal of the tragedy of obsession and compulsion. The movie is worth watching for this alone! Not to mention, I must say, before the climactic last 30 minutes, I found the sex portrayed as quite hot, loving, and far from cheap robotic stuff that merits the label 'porn'!...more info
  • "A Woman Called Sada Abe"
    The first impression that this film left, from the very first scenes, were the immense amounts not only of full nudity but also explicit sexual intercourse. Considering that this film was made in 1976, even the most unconventional European art cinema is relatively mild if compared to this. In fact, some scenes were so realistic and so arousing, that it was difficult not to get turned on.

    But besides the obvious sexual aspects, this film will continue to spark many controversies for years ahead. The ending of the film was so realistically done, with violently colored bloodstreams in horror film style that I wondered if the actor was permanently harmed.

    Without any doubt In the Realm of Senses is not"porn" nor is it "art", it is instead a look into the depths of love that has become completely obsessive with no rules, and no boundaries. There have been many movies about obsessive love, but none of them compares to this one, maybe in part because this is a true story. The character Sada definitely holds the movie as the obsessive lover. It's a film about how our desires can withdraw us from society, reality, or even out own consciousness. We become so obsessed with life, material things, people, and our obsessions can kill us. We become voyeurs when watching this film. The director constantly challenges us to look and to see how the two main characters see each other. The film is a commentary on Japanese society, as we see a woman dominate a man sexually. He withdraws from his position in society and from the military dictatorship that runs Japan. It's truly a beautiful film that succeeds in arousing our mind and our body, and then it challenges us to look deeper into our own place in society, how we withdraw from it, how we escape, and what our escape says about how we view society.
    This movie is definitely not for all tastes or who are easily offended by graphic scenes of sex. It's like fatal attraction of the darkest kind. But for those adventurous souls looking for something different and interesting, I recommend this film.
    ...more info
  • Intense
    You know I have to say there is something about the Japanese when they make an erotic film, something different about it. Some may say it is pornography but if you are so offended by scenes in a film of a sexual nature then why on earth did you buy/rent this film in the first place? This was one of the first films to show full penetration and be left uncut by the film censors and now there are a few out there such as 9 songs, while 9 songs however in spite of its best efforts is just awful this is very different.

    The film revolves around a married man who falls for an ex prostitute and begins an intense relationship that eventually becomes their downfall. The 2 of them reach a point where they never leave their room just constantly making love to one another to such an extent that other women begin to complain about first them then the smell (Yeh I know yuk!) The various sexual acts that they perform on one another just adds to the intensity of the film especially when Sada demands that he no longer have sex with his wife on threat of castration and even says she will be watching him and that she will 'know' if he does.

    There are scenes which some may feel uncomfortable with (such as him grabbing a chubby maid and having sex with her much to the amusement of Sada or him having sex with an elderly Geisha in front of Sada at her request) Other scenes such as the sex while strangulation and scenes of penetration may also make some uncomfortable. For me though, the final scene of the film was the more disturbing rather than the rest of the content.

    An intense and sometimes disturbing film but one to watch all the same....more info
  • Cult film fans might like this...
    This is one strange movie that will leave its viewer scratching his/her head. Not really much point to this other than the director's attempt to film as much porn as possible in the obvious endeavor to be labled "artsy, edgy," and "ahead of his time." No wonder Madonna raved about this film - her gratuitous attempts to garner the same lables put her in a similar class as Oshima.

    The plot is a little too hard to swallow. The "eroticism" is nearly unwatchable (particularly the egg insertion scene). But for some reason, I would have to classify this film as a good piece of oddball cinema for cult movie buffs. This DVD is good for shock value and after a single viewing, has earned a spot in my library next to "Pink Flamingos" and "Eraserhead." The only difference between this and my aforementioned films, is that this DVD is a dust-collector. ...more info
  • In the Realm of the Senses
    This movie is quite amazing. It shows physical desire and sexual passion taken to the edge of madness. It was banned for 20 years because of the explicitness of the screen sex. The story is a true one but its depiction on screen makes us aware of the voyeuristic nature of our participation in the observation of raw passion. The actors are all serious professionals - not porn stars - but Oshima persuaded them to perform real, not simulated , sex for this film. The tone of the film and the shocking ending could have been made morbid or depressing but it is not. The film flows to its conclusion with an inevitablity that seems quite natural. ...more info
  • Ouch!
    Don't get me wrong I can go for the erotic every now and then but this was ridiculous. The characters were to underdeveloped and from the beginning all you see is sex, sex, sex. I would have liked it more if they mentioned each characters background, especially what the wife thought about Sada. The scene when she was on her period, in my opinion was disgusting. and the part when she touched the filthy bum I wanted to throw up. The end shocked me because ole girl pulled a Bobbitt move that they actually showed. Not the best erotic film I have seen. Definitely not sensual enough. All the sex they were having got boring after awhile and there conversations were almost always the same. More like softcore porn....more info
  • I HAVENT SEEN THIS YET...
    ....BUT I HAVE READ MOST OF THE REVIEWS...I THINK THE POINT I AM TRYING TO GET ACROSS IS THAT THIS WAS NOT MEANT TO BE A PORN...IT WAS MEANT TO BE ART...JUST BECAUSE MODERN AMERICAN SOCIETY VIEWS NUDITY IN FILM AS WRONG OR IMMORAL, DOES NOT MEAN THERE'S ANY REASON TO DOWN A FOREIGN FEATURE WHERE THIS IS AN EVERYDAY ISSUE...THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME......more info
  • Intriguing Film, Horrific DVD
    I like Asian cinema. I really haven't seen all that many of these types of films, but the few I viewed over the past two or three years were excellent in terms of plot, special effects, and cinematography. The best thing about films from Japan and Hong Kong, and let's face it, these are the ones we're all talking about, is their non-western views about movie violence and adult situations. These guys are simply more willing to push envelopes we wouldn't think of touching. Well, "In the Realm of the Senses" not only pushes envelopes, it shreds them into tiny pieces. This taboo busting film claims a real event in 1930's Japan as the basis for a love story the likes of which you have rarely seen. This is the type of celluloid nightmare that stays with you long after the closing credits fade into darkness. "In the Realm of the Senses" mixes pornography, psychotic obsession, and grisly special effects to produce a volatile cocktail that will ambush those individuals not used to extreme cinema.

    Set in a Japan gearing up for war, "In the Realm of the Senses" introduces the viewer to a brothel where the young Abe Sada works. One of the regular customers is Kichizo, an older married man who enjoys the company of the geishas. It isn't too long before Sada and Kichizo meet, and the two rapidly move into deeper and deeper realms of obsession and sexual adventure. The game, although it sure doesn't seem like a playful adventure, transmogrifies into open menace on the part of Sada, who threatens to maim or kill Kichizo if he pays the slightest attention to his wife. Even the other women in the brothel become fearful and chary about the strange events unfolding between the two lovers. Sada and Kichizo stay in a single room for days, without bathing or cleaning the floors. The obsession the two possess for each other often causes day-to-day worries to fade into the background. Things sink to such a bizarre level that the conclusion really shouldn't come as a surprise, although it does because of its emotional shot to the stomach. This is an incredible experience that many will not or cannot fathom, let alone comprehend. I'm not sure I understand several of the film's elements, probably due in large part to the atrocious DVD version constructed by Fox Lorber.

    I recognize this is a foreign film and therefore possibly problematic for English speaking technicians, but this DVD is poorly made. The English subtitles rarely match up with the person speaking; the transfer doesn't look as good as it should, and even when I used the zoom function I knew I wasn't seeing the film the way the director intended. You get glimpses of how good the film must look when properly formatted and fully restored, such as brilliant flashes of color from Sada's kimonos and the lighting used by director Nagisa Oshima STILL looks great despite the bad transfer. A movie this powerful deserves much better than this stilted treatment. I've heard bad things about Fox Lorber concerning other DVD releases, and I tend to believe those statements now after seeing how they butchered this film.

    I am sure there are numerous subtexts drifting through "In the Realm of the Senses," but I am not sure what they all are. I couldn't help but notice how the rigid Japanese social system repeatedly reared its head. The women all refer to Kichizo as "master" and readily submit to his attentions even when they do not wish to do so. That's what makes the conclusion so surprising; that a woman in Japanese society did what she did must have been absolutely mind blowing to the patriarchal social hierarchy. Another aspect of the film certainly dealt with the war and Japan's machismo based discipline, but I cannot say exactly how it fits into the picture. After all, I only noticed one scene where I saw any soldiers. Is the obsession between Sada and Kichizo paralleled with the deadly obsession Japan had for its war plans? I'm probably reaching badly with this, but Japan's disastrous bid for world domination must play a role in this somewhere.

    I won't watch this again until a company releases a decent DVD edition. I probably wouldn't watch it again soon anyway because the movie is so darn intense it takes awhile to absorb what you're seeing. It blows my mind that this got a theatrical release in the States back in the 1970s. I'll bet a lot of people had no idea what they got themselves into when they decided to spend a few hours with Nagisa Oshima's psychological tour de force. When they rated it NC-17 for the DVD release, they knew what they were talking about!...more info

  • Realm of the Senses
    Very good, but very depressing. Excellent production, but be careful--you must like pensive mysteries with "brutal" fantasy themes, that are just too realistic!...more info
  • I'm totally speechless.
    Apart from the ending, everything in this movie is real. You have to see at least one real movie about love and fatal obsession in your life, and well, that Michael Douglas - Glenn Close movies wont cut it. ( get it - cut it?? ). Anyway, if your quest for erotica doesn't venture past the teletubbies, then it's probably a good idea that you don't see this flick. But if you totally open minded, you will see a movie that was years ahead of it's time. You will never see Erotica with this kind of acting and script ever again. If this is the uncut version, and you're a guy watching it with somebody, I'd suggest you wear thick jeans or bring a pillow, you'll see why....more info
  • Bull Fight
    In 1965 Oshima Nagisa directed a film called The Pleasures of the Flesh. Within this film Oshima stretched limits of how much sexuality could be displayed on screen. Because Japanese censorship laws prohibited showing pubic hair and genitals in coitus other displays of sexuality such as sadomasochism became more of a standard in Japanese pink films that actual sexual intercourse. Oshima desired to direct such a film that gave its all to sexual expression, and with the additional push of a decaying film market, the director jumped a the opportunity to direct a film produced by the Frenchman Anatole Dauman who expressly wanted Oshima to direct a pornographic film. Oshima had little difficulty finding an actress to play the role of Abe Sada, but he had quite a bit more difficulty finding an actor to play the male role because most of the actors were concerned about their "equipment" appearing to be small on screen. Eventually the role went to Fuji Tatsuya who also appears in such films as Kurosawa Kiyoshi's Bright Future (2003) and quite a number of the Stray Cat Rock films of the early 1970s. After the movie was filmed in Japan, the unprocessed film was edited and processed in France. Oshima was taken to court because of the lewdness of the film's screenplay and fought for free expression in film. Until this day, the unedited version of the film has never been shown in Japan although it did attract the attention of quite a number of Japanese living or working abroad.

    The film itself takes place in the year 1936. A time in which Japan's military was becoming more and more enmeshed in fighting bother abroad and at home. However, for Ishida Kichizo this matters little. Instead he spends most of his days making love, drinking sake, and enjoying the entertainment provided by geisha. Within the hotel that Kichizo owns work a large number of pretty young women with the prettiest being a young woman named Abe Sada who had earlier been a prostitute. Stimulated by watching her master make love to his wife, Sada's desire for Kichizo grows and after he discovers her the two begin to make love frequently. At first, Sada is ashamed that she reaches orgasm much quicker than Kichizo, but he continuously tells her that his main desire is to fulfill her desires. The two continuously make love and eventually servants do not want to enter the room because Sada is constantly performing fellatio on Kichizo. It soon becomes evident that the power dynamic is switching from Kichizo to Sada and as her jealousy grows so does the danger...

    In the Realm of the Senses contains many situations of coitus, fellatio, a young girl being forcibly penetrated with a dildo by older geisha, an egg being pushed into Sada's vagina, a young boy's penis being tugged on by Sada, strangulation, and castration. Obviously with such scenes the film does not make for Saturday afternoon fare with the whole family. Oshima was criticized because many people believed that the film was nothing more than a means for Oshima to film pornographic material and because of this film Oshima is often labeled a director of porn in the West. While I do not see this film reaching the same heights of his films directed in the 1960s, I can still see that this film has some value outside of just its sexual content, which are bit more grotesque than stimulating which make them similar to the literature of Tanizaki Junichiro. Kichizo and Sada's indulgence in sex and the pure, unadulterated pleasure and self destruction they receive from it is a form of "protest" against Japan's military and police forces which tried to control the lives of the Japanese people with an iron grip.

    While not for the squeamish, In the Realm of the Senses is a worthwhile film for those interested in the films of Oshima Nagisa, controversial Japanese film, or for those interested in film that walk the fine border between "art" and "trash."...more info
  • Get the GOOD version...
    The version I bought from Amazon is the more expensive of the two offered (with the "World Classic Cinema" side bar on the front). Imagine my surprise when a Greek friend showed me her version that she got as a freebie from some Greek movie magazine, and the video quality is 10 times better! My full-screen version (which hers isn't) I paid money for looked like somebody hid in the theatre and filmed it with a camcorder. Her free version she got from a magazine is NOT full-screen and has outstanding picture quality. So obviously there must be a better, digitally cleaned-up version out there. I would try to find that one if you can. In the states, they're probably waiting until lots of people buy the fuzzy, grainy version so they can do a second issuing of the DVD with "improved video and never before seen outtakes!" and make the money twice from the poor saps who bought the first one.

    Now, as for the movie, it's okay. Yes, it verges on porn at times, but compared to the porn I've seen (not a lot, but some), it's way weird to see real acting going on in the same movie. It does an okay job of exploring sexual obsession, but there are a few scenes that seem superfluous to the idea the film is trying to get across. You only have to see the female lead obsessing over her lover's... uh... "pride and joy" so many times to get the idea she's a little off-kilter sexually.

    Worth watching, but nothing fabulous.
    ...more info
  • THE CENSOR HAS BEEN AT WORK HERE
    This version from Fox-Lorber, in Japanese with English subtitles, is really only 97 minutes long, not the 105 as claimed. Although it still is replete with graphic sexual behavior, it seems there is not quite as much as I remember from before, and yes, we are missing 8 minutes of footage. While little is done to affect plot development or to alter the overall story, somebody somewhere was busy with the scissors on this version; they will let us see this much graphic sexuality and no more. Since it still carries an NC-17 rating I don't see the point, but then the bluenoses never cease their gadfly gaddings about, snip here, snip there, pretty soon you are convinced you have seen the whole thing, not realizing that someone has gone to great lengths to censor your veiwing intake. The official running time was 105 minutes as made, the box says 104 minutes but the clock on my DVD player says 97 minutes. Why bother excising a movie already rated as NC-17 unless you are a zealot trying a sneak edit.

    The only other alternative for this film is the version dubbed into English only, with no subtitle option at all.
    I don't know whether that one has been edited....more info
  • Over long Japanese porn
    I really dispise any porn movie that the director's ego thinks is a "Erotic, daring, sensitive". This movie gets very tedious after the first hour, everything they had to say to each other was redundant after the 2nd screw. I guess the master of the house can boink any maid that's handy. And in Japan no one wears underwear. I wonder if she carried his wing-wang around in her purse at the end? I thought it would be a lot better I wish I didn't buy it. If anyone wants to buy it I'll give you a good deal....more info
  • Some sins won't rest in peace
    Empire of Passion, directed by Nagisa Oshima, floats well above the heap of kaidan films that lately seem to placate the genre. An identical American remake for this one is doubtful, primarily because this doesn't thrive on cheap scares and/or gory visuals. This is a slower-paced, moody ghost story that attempts to haunt you on a more psychological level.

    It takes place in a late 19th century Japanese village. This story simmers on themes of temptation, guilt, and retribution. Seki and her secret lover, Toyoji, plot to kill Seki's husband and toss his body in a well. Some lies simply won't stay buried.

    This action causes town gossip, police investigations, bad dreams, and eventually some haunting visions.

    Empire of Passion is a subtle mixture of eroticism and horror. No angry ghosts leaping out of closets. No decaying corpses spewing blood and puss. Plus the sex scenes aren't especially graphic. But it utilizes the less-is-more technique to near perfection, landing Oshima a Best Director award at the '78 Cannes Film Festival. It never quite reaches the stunning, creepy status of ONIBABA, nor does it have the exquisite cinematography as displayed in UGETSU. But still this is a stellar ghost film, just waiting to be savagedly butchered by an American remake.


    SIDE NOTE: Most of the reviews on this product page seem to be for the more controversial, erotic film IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES? Weird.

    ...more info
  • Not worth the time or money
    After reading some of the other reviews I was expecting a film that would leave me thinking about something of significance in life, even if was an extreme reaction to sexual obsession. I also, often forlornly, hope for a cathartic experience whenever I watch drama.

    Unfortunately, this film provided neither. I was left thinking that there was something left on the cutting room floor that would explain the actions of the main characters. There was little in the film that would help me understand how the two `lovers' could end up in their final situation. It was northing more than a voyeuristic following of a couples' series of sexual experiences that were neither erotic nor enlightening of motivations.

    Then there were those unexplained forays by the female lead that had nothing to do with the main theme of the movie. The only reason for them seemed to be "comic relief" to the sex. The problem is that they were not funny and did not inform the audience about the main character.

    Over all, the only reason to watch this film would be to see what really bad movies are like....more info

  • Exotica
    Sensual Japanese period piece, made in the '70s, portraying in graphic realism a notorious incident occurring in the thirties which clearly challenged the existing sexual mores and sensibilities of the time. The film maker used the shocking event to justify a presentation of arousing cinemagraphic exotica unlike audiences neither in Japan nor the U.S. had ever witnessed previously in public film theaters. Critics may dispute just where artistic license crosses into outright pornography, but the sincerity and realism of the protagonists' performance remain provocative, refreshing, convincing. While the lover's seemingly endless couplings become repetitive, tedious, perhaps unnecessary, the overall effect leaves an onlooker feeling as though he or she witnessed something special, a genuine real-life experience between an attractive young couple exquisitely caught up in the delightful exploration of their senses and strikingly transformed through mutual sexual gratification. ...more info
  • Not bad acting at all, Maddona was right for once...
    There is defintely a movie here and not just about sex. It's about passion and needing over coming ones mind, and I'm sure we've all felt that way at one time, of course maybe it wasn't in Feutal Japan, but at some point. There's such a deep story here, and whenever the couple were away from each other I thought they would kill whoever was near them, because they needed each other so much. The Lead Actress shows her skills of what it's like being a sexaholic, and the Lead Actor shows how easily it is to be overcome by a woman. Anyone who rates this as a bad movie didn't actually think about the movie at all, and just counted the sex scenes (which there a lot of) but that's even sicker than watching for the sex scenes....more info
  • Hardcore art.
    In the Realm of the Senses (Nagisa Oshima, 1976)

    What is the difference between art and pornography? (Thesis: the idea of a fixed definition for the term "pornography" depends on an impossibility: a fixed definition for the term "art." Discuss.) That's a question you're likely to find yourself asking pretty much constantly while watching In the Realm of the Senses, Nagisa Oshima's infamous 1976 feature that takes the "Banned in Boston!" clich®¶ one better--it really was banned. But, of all places, it was banned in New York. Now that takes some doing.

    Based on a true story, In the Realm of the Senses is the story of Sada (Eiko Matsuda), an ex-prostitute who goes to work as a servant in the house of Kichizo (Bright Future's Tatsuya Fuji). Kichizo takes notice of her, and it doesn't take long before that notice becomes something more. Kichizo spirits Sada away to another city, where he sets her up in a different house and carries on life as a bigamist. Sada, however, is the jealous type, and eventually begins to resent Kichizo's other family.

    Perhaps the big difference between art and porn is there there's an actual story. (Or the surprisingly small number of close-up shots so common in porn.) And there is one, here, though if you find yourself with a dubbed version, you'll spend half the time you watch it snickering at the silliness of the English voices. (The other half, of course, you will spend happily fapping away and wondering how this movie managed to get out of Japan without those silly blurring effects over the bits you're not allowed to see in Japan.) But pay attention, will you? Obviously, in any film that aspires to be porn, something must be sacrificed, and much of the time, that something is character. And it is true that our main characters here are, perhaps, less well-developed (in the sense of screenwriting, anyway) than we would like. But we know enough about them to enjoy this, and far more than we do about any characters we might have ever run across in a straight porn film. (Or a gay porn film. You know what I mean.) You have character, you have plot, you have wonderful cinematography (I'm willing to put the overly-dark nature of many of the interior shots down to a degraded master and/or bad DVD transfer)--looks like art! *** ?...more info
  • Very Emotional Film!
    I found this film to be very emotional. It was based on a true story that happen prior to WWII and during the depression era. I don't know how much of the facts were stretch but if you watch the film I don't think you would find time to make popcorns. Yes, it graphic and erotic but without it the picture would not make sense. One scene with the drunken homeless was to show how caring she was but it ended too quickly to know what she did for him. Another scene was playing with children. This film would make a good project for physiognomy. Not knowing what I was watching I got involved not with the physical aspects of this film but the mental aspects of this film. If you are in the Psychiatry field or thinking about getting into this field you must watch this film. I don't know if Freud could explain this? Buy it and watch this with a friend. You will have a great time discussing how, why and what?...more info
  • Brutally honest.
    Friends who have watched this film tell me that there's no one like the girl in this movie. I say they're wrong. I have met men and women so obssesed with themselves that they have the power to drag others into their obsession. This is the story of one such person. Some people call this a beautiful love story but I call it the slow descent into insanity by both of the couple. She slides into obsessive compulsive territory and he, a middle aged man infatuated with her youth, allows himself to be dragged along. The ending was inevitable.

    This movies is filled with graphic sex scenes which is an honest change of pace for this type of movie. These people actually do it the way you and I would do it at home. There is no attempt to be artsy of fancy. In other words, it is NOT "gratuitious."

    I found it hard to feel any sympathy for either of them. Maybe more for her than for him because it's obvious she's disturbed. He has no excuse.

    Check it out, you may be surprised....more info
  • Worst movie EVER!!
    I purchased this movie based upon the reviews and recommendations from others on Amazon.com who ( I assumed ) had watched it and liked it. Not knowing the titles or directors of good erotica, I based my decision on those comments. I have to say, and I'm usually NOT one to go off griping about things that don't deliver on their "advertised" qualities, but this was by far and without a doubt the WORST movie of ANY category I have ever seen. I considered selling it on e-bay just to recover some of the cost, but I refuse to subject any poor unsuspecting man (or woman) to this garbage. If you're looking for something to set the --mood-- this movie will NOT do it....more info
  • Work of Art in Double X
    Not for the timid who blush at raw passion !!! I first saw the film in '77 at Detroit Institute of Art and still consider the film a masterpiece in the study of sensual pleasure without restraint. ...more info
  • CUT ABOVE THE REST?
    Now, come off it people!

    This IS A rather tedious and overlong excursion into the sensual obsessions of two mismatched lovers circa 1938ish or thereabout. There are the usual boring, very boring endless "pillowing" {the Shogun term?} and the endless, repetitive music........

    YES, it does boast THAT scene ala Bobbit, but somewhat "con-sensual" - he seems to agree [!], give or take a few excursions into auto-asphyxiation [the silk-scarf bit].

    A trifle too extreme for the Younger Crowd, but worth-while having on your shelf, next to the copy of "Salo", "Last Tango in Paris" and "The Night Porter".

    Oh, the things we do do for love............more info

  • An actors film, based on a true story.
    Based on a true story, Nagisa Oshima's 1976 film about possession, sexual obsession and love, is still fresh in its portrayal of a woman named Matsuda who struggles to posses her husband Fuji, wholly and completely.
    In what must be one of the most shocking movies to come out of Japan in decades,
    Nagisa's skillful use of location builds a claustrophobic atmosphere of intimacy, with very little light, cramped space and no fresh air (minor character comments about the smell that builds in the room the couple are in). Though at times seemingly pretentious, my feeling is that this may be due to the translation.
    From beginning to end the controversial and explicit nature of the film will either turn you on, or off or leave you in jaw-dropping awe. Its still amazing what the two main actors do for this film, and the levels they go to, to bring these two characters to life. Still fresh and worth a good unbiased viewing every other year....more info
  • Passionate and Erotic
    "In the Realm of the Senses"

    Passionate and Erotic

    Amos Lassen

    Everyone who has seen the Japanese film "In the Realm of the Senses" has an opinion, no one seems to have neutral feelings about it. Now we have a new Criterion edition that is loaded with extras that enhance one of the most erotic mainstream movies ever made.
    Until lately the film has been banned or available only in censored versions but now we have the original film just as it was made in the 1970's. Some have hailed it as art while others dismiss it as porn and in reality; it seems to me to be a combination of both. It is serious and it is voyeuristic and prurient. It is not quite a masterpiece but it deserves to be seen as an extreme and taboo breaking film. Once we get past the explicitness there is a real story here with a subtle political context as it deals with the rise of Japanese militarism and nationalism. There is a great deal of explicit sexual contact. The characters are self- destructive and dangerous and sex becomes an expression of their inhumanity.
    Sada and Ishida share a passion foe sex. Sada is the more aggressive of the two and she is both possessive and inflammatory. Ishida is relaxed and submissive and just soaks it all up. As the two fall downward into depravity and self-destruction everything is thrown onto the screen and at us. The film is audacious and it overwhelms but it is so much more than just sex. It examines a world of experimentation and pain as it takes us on a voyage to the unknown. The film deals with the search for fulfillment and pleasure in a world where nothing else matters and reality is discarded. Sada and Ishida separate themselves from all that is real because they know that in order to find true happiness, they must transcend al levels of consciousness and reality. They feel that a few wonderful moments are worth more than any heartache that might follow.
    "In the Realm of the Senses" is a dark and disturbing psychological drama about sexual obsession. It is masterfully directed by Nagisa Oshima and he is known for shocking his audience and doing so usually by confronting bourgeois sensibilities or an accepted view of society or history. Here he added the sexual element and for me it works beautifully.
    The DVD extras include an audio commentary with film scholar Tony Rayns, an interview with the director and lead actors from 1976 an interview with producer, line director, film distributor and assistant director, a new interview with actor Tatsuya Fuji, deleted scenes, improved subtitles and lots of full frontal nudity.
    ...more info
  • You decide: two stars as entertainment or four stars as art house cinema
    The sets are beautiful, the actors play well, and the story captivates the audience. But the story is bizarre and some of the scenes are revolting. So is Realm of the Senses something worth watching?

    If you want to see explicit erotica as entertainment, be honest with yourself and get a Playboy or Penthouse video or whatever. "Realm" deserves an X rating but it's gruesome, not arousing, sex. That said, as art "Realm" offers a view of the stranger side of Japan and of where unbridled passion can take you. In this vein, I prefer Peter Greenaway films but why limit yourself to just one director. "Realm" isn't as good as The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Lover, but it's still an engrossing film.

    The story of the movie is fascinating in its own right. First, this is officially a French movie. In order to get around Japanese censorship, the film canisters were sent to France undeveloped and the film was released as a French production. It was initially banned in Japan, then a censored version was released with clouds over the shall we say Strategic areas of the image.

    The female lead, Eiko Matsuda, disappeared from the art scene. The male lead, Tatsuya Fuji, is still active as an actor and he also took up pottery ten years ago. In fact he starred as a master potter in the 2006 Canadian-Japanese coproduction Kamataki. The director, Nagisa Oshima, still directs and is most famous overseas success was Merry Christmas Mr. Laurence.

    Vincent Poirier, Tokyo...more info
  • This is a WARNING:
    This IS NOT a review of this film, this is a warning.
    NC-17 is a bold understatement. I have never seen a film with an NC-17 rating with pornographic content. When I say pornographic, I don't mean "late-night Cinemax", I mean if you were to rent this movie, it would be in the "back room" of the video store.
    Not for everyone.
    Again, the NC-17 rating means absolutely nothing....more info
  • A brilliant study in obsessive excess
    I am a bit tickled by the previous reviewer's vehemence, which has the word "symptom" written all over it. It is amazing how a certain overzealous puritanism (or in this case, a certain high-brow, self-satisfied snottiness) can generate its own kind of excess... It is funny when such know-it-all self-righteousness hastily condemns a work of art, and yet betrays its own blindness by showing how little it has understood what it condemns.

    _In the realm of the senses_ is a study in "beautiful" excess... But it must be understood that this kind of "beauty" is only accessible to a certain poetic sensitivity that is able to perceive it in places where souls with a different kind of sensitivity can only see ugliness or worse, mere redundancy and futility ("1.5 hours of pointless inanity," as the previous reviewer puts it). And yes it depicts on the surface an eroticism that is brutal, excessive, increasingly degenerative, and ultimately all consuming, but like any piece of meaningful art, it resonates beyond itself to invoke a variety of supplementary meanings and insights into human behavior that can only bring riches and rewards to the patient, discerning viewer. More importantly, the film is not out to glorify the pattern of excess it depicts since it places the eroticism on a path of increasing depravity that inexorably leads to self-destruction. In that sense, the film is implacably moral! But let's leave that aside...

    An incapacity to see beyond the mentioned surface eroticism is in itself nothing incriminating... Evidently, people are entitled to their tastes, and their opinions, and these are bound to show differences... There are people who, due to their constitutions and tastes, will not last through 10 minutes of the kind of graphic eroticism that is depicted here in all its glory, and that is perfectly understandable since such people cannot help themselves. But why condemn so vehemently, and with such a despotic and dismissive sense of self-righteousness, a work of art that one obviously understands so little??? ...more info