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The essence of sexual obsessiveness
on 21 April 2002
A remarkable story, told at a gentle pace, building through the layers of sexual obsession as the two principal characters, Kichi-zo and his lover, Sada, become embroiled in an erotic search for release from the everyday oppression of 1930's Japanese society. As the story approaches its violent and deeply sad conclusion (based on an actual murder case) they find themselves increasingly isolated from the expectations of family, lovers and peers and they both come to realise that emotional satisfaction and sexual fulfilment do not go hand in glove. The story is laced with comedy - the treatment of the attendant geisha for example and does well to create the feeling of life in a ryokan or Japanese Inn. The film gained notoriety for the explicitness of the in-your-face sex and serves perhaps as a object lesson in the differences between pornography and film-art.