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In the Realm of the Senses

Nagisa Ôshima
Ai no korîda
Japan, France 1976 / 103’
Halka Man of Iron

Nagisa Ôshima's In the Realm of the Senses is one of the most important erotic arthouse films ever made, a category that also includes Bernardo Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris, Andrzej Żuławski's She-Shaman, and Gaspar Noé's Love. Inspired by true events, the film tells the story of two lovers immersed in sexual obsession. The protagonists' relationship has a cannibalistic twist, as they both seem to be driven not by simple lust but by an intense physical hunger, the desire to devour each other. Their treatment of one another is sometimes loving, sometimes ruthless, as they experiment with their bodies in search of more and more intense experiences. Over time, their world shrinks to include nothing but the four walls around them, wherein they surrender themselves to perverse games day in and day out. The film contains unsimulated sex scenes that are explicit even by today's exorbitant standards.

Piotr Mirski


BFI Awards 1976 – Sutherland Trophy; Chicago IFF 1976 – Special Jury Prize; Hochi Film Awards 1976 – Best Actor; SESC Film Festival, Brazil 1981 – Critics Award for Best Foreign Film

Nagisa Ôshima

Born in Kyoto, Nagisa Ôshima (1932-2013) studied at the local university. He worked as a film critic and the editor-in-chief of Eiga Hihyo magazine. He learned to direct while working as an assistant at Shochiku studios. He was one of the representatives of the Japanese New Wave. In addition to In the Realm of the Senses, his most important films include Death by HangingThe Ceremony; and Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.

Selected filmography

1968 Śmierć przez powieszenie / Kōshikei / Death by Hanging

1971 Ceremonia / Gishiki / The Ceremony

1976 Imperium zmysłów / Ai no korîda / In the Realm of the Senses

1983 Wesołych świąt, pułkowniku Lawrence / Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

1999 Tabu / Gohatto / Taboo

Cast & Crew

director Nagisa Ôshima
screenplay Nagisa Ôshima
cinematography Hideo Itô
editing Patrick Sauvion, Keiichi Uraoka
music Minoru Miki
cast Tatsuya Fuji, Eiko Matsuda, Aoi Nakajima, Yasuko Matsui, Meika Seri
producer Anatole Dauman
production Argos Films, Oshima Productions, Shibata Organisation
sales Tamasa
language Japanese
colouration colour