Ai No Corrida (In The Realm Of The Senses)
April 6th 2009 00:46
I first saw the movie in a much scratched print at the old Encore (Third Eye) Cinema in Sydney which doesn’t exist anymore. I’d known of the movie for years, but had never seen it as it had been banned in Australasia. In fact it was banned in many countries for a long time, including Japan. Even after it was filmed the undeveloped footage had to be snuck out of the country to France (who helped finance the movie) to be processed due to Japan’s strict censorship laws.
Tatsuya Fuji as Kichizo and Eiko Matsudo as Sada
Kichizo Ishida (Tatsuya Fuji) is married to Toku (Aoi Nakajima) and runs a hotel. He has several servants, but a new maid, Sada Abe (Eiko Matsudo) catches his eye. A former geisha, she is mischievous and highly strung and she is equally attracted to Kichizo-san. Before you can say “bullfight of love” (the literal English translation of the Japanese title), they have embarked on a torrid affair. But what starts as a passionate display of forbidden lust quickly becomes obsessive behaviour, as Sada exhibits an unruly fixation on Kichizo’s penis.
WARNING! CONTAINS SPOILERS!
Sexual obsession is nothing knew under the sun, and certainly nothing new in cinema, but it had never been portrayed with such ferocious authenticity as it is in this film. While the S&M element was simulated, the sex was performed a la "Method", adding a heightened sense of realism. Director Oshima, who also wrote the screenplay, took the realism perhaps too far in a scene involving Sada and a young boy and girl, both of whom are under ten years old. Sada is cleaning and the children are running and laughing around Sada, and in a moment of perverse authority she grabs the boy and tweaks his tiny penis, as if to punish him for his cheekiness, yet the sub-text suggests sexual frustration has made her act in such an aberrant way. The boy complains that it hurts and Sada releases him.
Here's the trailer (made for the Criterion Collection release):
In The Realm Of The Senses DVD is courtesy of Umbrella Entertainment, many thanks!
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