In the Realm of the Senses 1976
Ai no korîda (original title)
18 | 1h 49min | Biography, Drama, Horror | February 1976 (West Germany)
Based on a true story set in pre-war Japan, a man and one of his servants begin a torrid affair. Their desire becomes a sexual obsession so strong that to intensify their ardor, they forsake all, even life itself.
There is nothing in cinema that I can think of that compares to In The Realm Of The Senses. It is in a class of its own: beautiful, tender, sensual, erotic, horrifying. I can still remember the shock of seeing it perhaps twenty years ago: not just at the explicitness of the images, in every sense, but at the extraordinary passion and honesty of the two central performances, and Oshima’s direction.
Despite the violent nature of the film, and the fact that it is based on a true event, I cannot think of another film that so truly captures the intensity of any emotional and sexual relationship at some point in its incarnation. If you have ever felt love and desire at their most powerful – the wish not to possess someone, but to become part of them and share with them how they experience the world – then you will recognize that feeling here. While certainly not a map for any relationship you might wish to have (I pray!), this film says more about what it means to be a man or woman than any other film I have seen.
Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Writer: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: Tatsuya Fuji, Eiko Matsuda, Aoi Nakajima