Wednesday, 12 June 2013

In the Realm of the Senses (1976) - ★½

Director: Nagisa Oshima
Writer: Nagisa Oshima
Stars: Tatsuya Fuji, Eiko Matsuda

Here comes the age old question, is it art or is it porn? In the Realm of the Senses is about 80% porn in my opinion. The acting is quite good, the music is nice, the costumes and cinematography is very well done. Unfortunately, the rest of the film consists of sex, masturbation and even kinkier sex. It's a labor of love from Nagisa Oshima, who shows us that sex is more than just 'touch' and how it feels. The smell, the taste, the sight and even the sound can maximize a person's desire and pleasure. In the end, it's basically a high-class Japanese porno.

So here's the story. A servant girl from a geisha house named Sada (Eiko Matsuda) falls in love with a married man, Kichizo (Tatsuya Fuji). At first it was more about the lust than love, but eventually they fall harder for each other. Their relationship becomes a deadly obsession, where they can't bear to be away from one another. I believe this is based on a true story, which is why there's very little to it other than sex and obsession.

The horniest couple in the history of the cinema.
I will say this, the acting is spectacular from Eiko Matsuda. If this film focused more on how she felt and less on her sexual desires, I think it could have been an Oscar worthy performance. On the other hand, Tatsuya Fuji's character had very little substance. You could never really tell if he was in love with Sada, or whether he was with her for the sexual pleasure. While he couldn't quite convince me, Matsuda did a marvelous job at portraying a woman who is loves a man to the point of obsession.

This movie is graphic. I mean REALLY graphic. You see full frontal intercourse, two penises, a couple of vaginas, and even food being inserted into a woman's nether-region. I didn't enjoy it one bit. I can honestly say that In the Realm of the Senses wasn't the least bit erotic to me. It was more disturbing, you could always sense madness and betrayal peaking from around the corner.

I believe this film was banned in many countries, and I can completely understand why. Now that we're all desensitized to pornography and violence, this film just seems lacking in terms of story and dialogue. You get over the sex after the first couple of times you see it, making the rest of the film tedious and pointless. I guess I can respect that Oshima made a pretty out-there film for his time, but it's just not very good. People who love a film with an abundance of passionate sex would definitely find In the Realm of the Senses appealing.

Do not mess with a sex-obsessed mistress.


  1. For a reviewer, itseems you really missed the point.

    1. Enlighten me please. Don't just state something and go. I'm open for a debate :)