Saturday, 2 October 2010

In the Realm of the Senses (1976, Dir, Nagisa Oshima)

In the Realm of the Senses is Nagisa Oshima's (Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence) most famous and controversial film and also to this day remains one of the most controversial films ever made. Similar to the style of other 'New Wave' Japanese films, it is filmed in a classical style reminiscent of Japanese cinema masters to contrast with the extreme subject matter. The controversy that surrounds the film is due almost entirely to the many many scenes of graphic unsimulated sexual activity and had to passed off as a French production in order to escape Japanese censorship laws, though rather than bordering on pornography the explictness is a key to the themes and design of the film and it's power would be lost without them. Interestingly the film has been called an examination of how eroticism in in Japanese culture is often morbid or death-obsessed. The story is a fictionalized account of the real-life Sada Abe who along with her lover explore a number of extreme sexual experiments (one involves the use of an egg for example, which is shown in VERY graphic detail.). Abe kills her lover by strangulation, cuts off his penis and writes "Sada Kichi the two of us forever" in blood on his chest. Anyone looking to explore the 'finer' and more subtle side of extreme cinema should look no further.