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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The essence of sexual obsessiveness
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...
Published on 21 April 2002

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some of the tenderest sex scenes you'll ever see.
Oshima has produced some great films - Boy, The Ceremony. These are great dramas about Japanese culture and convention. And then in 1976 came In the Realm of the Senses. It is sexually explicit in a way that we've never seen before in a mainstream film. That sexual openness is so beautiful and natural and desperately needed in our films. Especially in a cinema industry...
Published on 30 Jan 2011 by S. Hyde


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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The essence of sexual obsessiveness, 21 April 2002
By A Customer
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.
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91 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterwork in sexuality, 22 Nov 2003
By 
Shivari (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Yes, this is explicit, but if you're simply after pornography, you can get more bangs for your buck elsewhere: this isn't a slideshow of silicon-enhanced babes and improbably-endowed studs. It's an exploration of sexual passion; the thrill, the joy, the overwhelming power. With pornography you're watching geysers spurt. With this film, you're swimming in the sea, happily splashing about in the waves - then before you know it, you're looking at a tsunami hurtling towards you...
By the end you amy well be torn between wanting the type of relationship portrayed and never wanting sex again! The film takes us to that deep and scarey place inside ourselves that few acknowledge and even fewer ever visit.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and tragic..., 14 Jun 2007
Wow, it is so sad. I couldn't stop crying. It is undoubtedly a shock at first, being not at all used to seeing sex displayed so obviously on the screen. But, well I mean we are all mostly no strangers to the sexual act. So after you get over the initial embarrassment, the film is very deeply touching.

The actors are extremely convincing, even taking into account the poker-faced, non-expression that the japanese seem to practise. You see them spiralling down, further and further into the danger of addiction, of it never being enough, always needing more, a heftier kick. A gigantic itch that gets worse the more you scratch. It is so terribly sad because you know they will destroy each other with their love and desire and there's nothing you, or they can do to stop it.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DIFFERENT AESTHETICS, 14 Mar 2007
This review is from: In the Realm of the Senses [DVD] [1976] [US Import] (DVD)
The realm of the senses is a superb film that manages to show beauty in the most unexpected ways: gerontophilia, sexual obession, pornography and many more taboo subjects are treated in the film and conveyed with such good taste and elegance that one is left speechless at the end of the film. It is a pure visual spectacle with a great soundtrack and a good simple storyline. A film that I watch at least once a year.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NOT SIMPLY LEGAL PORN!!!!!, 22 Mar 2007
This review is from: In the Realm of the Senses [DVD] [1976] [US Import] (DVD)
A very important piece of information that also needs to be added to these reviews, is that this story is completely true.

It happened in 1936, at a time when such actions becoming public would normally shock any society. Abe however was treated with mercy (given her fragile mental state), and after the initial shock died down, she became quite a female hero in her country.

I'm frankly appalled by some reviews I've read in other places that compare this to legal porn and nothing more, as they are totally missing the point of it!

Even if you had never seen any other film in your life, you could see the technical and emotional effort that goes into making a film like this compared to "cheap porn".

In fact, the two lead actors were quite negatively affected emotionally and physically, (yes, they really did begin to waste away like that, they were mentally damaged by the experience, which proves the devotion they had to portraying their characters well).

You cannot tell a true story without showing events that really happened, so the sex scenes you see, (which were not faked by the way...well, apart from the asphyxiation obviously) were necessary to show the depth of the obsession that had formed between the couple. Unlike films like 9 Songs, which include such things, and then shout about the "realness" of the pointless sex scenes, just to get attention for their otherwise cowardly, artless film.

Ai No Corrida (In The Realm Of The Senses...how it's known in Japan, and how you may find it written on the DVD case) is beautifully shot, the music is perfect and unobtrusive, the actors genuinely brave and the fact that the story is true makes the things you see even more touching.

Forget the typically Western reactions you will have read in newspapers and magazines when this was at last released after 32 years in 2001, and open your mind to a touching true story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film is good when you can't stop thinking about it..., 11 May 2012
By 
Thorkell Agust Ottarsson (Norway) - See all my reviews
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And when you buy more films from the director to see other films he has done. In the Realm of Senses is one of those. Does it have pornographic images? Yes! It goes so far in showing sexual intercourse that many of the scenes could be taken out of a porn film, BUT and this is a huge but. These scenes are very very important and the film would not have worked without them. Here is a film where explicit sexual scenes are not an excuse to but necessity. Also, sex has probably never been filmed in such a beautiful way.

The whole film is in fact a fascinating love story. It is based on a true story about what any normal person would call insanity but Nagisa ‘shima manages so well to show us their own logic that the whole thing becomes a mixture of beauty and terror.

The Blu Ray transfer is perfect, both sound and image and this is the uncensored version.

If you are easily offended then stay away, but if you like challenging and artistic films that stay with you for a long time then this should be on the top of your list.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely good, 6 Feb 2011
Nagisa "Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence" Oshima's most notorious film culminates with a truly shocking ending, encapsulating the sheer force of self-destructive passion between Kichi (Tatsuya Fuji) and Sada (Eiko Matsuda). It's an apt, inevitable climax.

The film sees a master, Kichi, take a servant, Sada, as his concubine. The balance of power quickly shifts, however, as Kichi struggles to come to terms with Sada's insatiable, and increasingly dangerous, sensual appetite. Together they push away a prudish world that would label them perverts; with the help of a carefully inserted boiled egg, they even mock the institution of procreation.

Though notions of class are touched upon (Sada, drawn from prostitution and servitude, refers to her desire to be "respectable" when with Kichi as well as a particularly paternal client), really this is a film about sex and death. You certainly can't fault it for scope of ambition, and yet its narrow - nay blinkered - focus on its deliriously conflicted protagonists is perhaps its greatest strength. After the opening scenes, Kichi and Sada dominate every last coital frame.

I've found the film becomes sadder, more poignant, with repeated viewings. The addiction is palpable, the self-annihilation agonising - not only in the characters' actions but in their changing faces: the terrible anxiety that what they share is transient; the haunting knowledge that death at the zenith is preferable to a slow decline.

I'll paddle into the art versus porn debate by saying that those looking for titillation from this film will probably find it - but they will also find a heartfelt, insightful and ultimately devastating portrait of extreme human desire.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars uncut UK bluray, 24 July 2012
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Excellent film that shocked the public and the censors in 1970s.

Cut for many years in the UK but now passed uncut which is surprising as there is a lot of explicit sex and in particular a scene where a woman yanks on a little boy's thingie.

Great film though, very arty and important. The picture is brilliant and the extras are really good too. The film is in Japanese with English subtitles

Empire of Passion is also on bluray, the companion piece to this film and more of a erotic ghost story. Bith are excellent films and discs.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some of the tenderest sex scenes you'll ever see., 30 Jan 2011
By 
S. Hyde "Artist" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Oshima has produced some great films - Boy, The Ceremony. These are great dramas about Japanese culture and convention. And then in 1976 came In the Realm of the Senses. It is sexually explicit in a way that we've never seen before in a mainstream film. That sexual openness is so beautiful and natural and desperately needed in our films. Especially in a cinema industry that finds fun and entertainment in violence in all its forms.
Oshima's film has ravishing camerawork with ever frame pierced with colour. However, I think that artistically he has dropped down a few notches from where he was. Realm of the Senses just has too much sex and not enough story. It felt to me like he was trying to challenge the censors by rubbing sex in their face. And then their's the ending which was just a touch too gory, better if it had been suggested a little more rather than shown.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars explicit, but beautiful, 21 Oct 2003
By A Customer
This is an example when the story is told and the statement is made entirely through a sexual experience. It's not sirprising then that the film is very explicit. Not for the prudish, but exquisitely beautiful and amazingly fresh. Hard to believe it was made in 1976.
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In the Realm of the Senses [DVD] [1976] [US Import]
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