In the Realm of the Senses
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Based upon a true incident in 1930s Japan, Nagisa Oshima's controversial film effectively skirts the borderline between pornography and art -- making Bernardo Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris of four years earlier look like children's programming in comparison. The story concerns servant and former prostitute Sada Abe (Eiko Matsuda) who becomes sexually obsessed with her employer Kizicho (Tatsuya Fuji), a businessman, after seeing him making love to his wife. After making love to Sada, Kizicho becomes obsessed with her as well. As their love-making becomes more and more intense,… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Unsanitised, worryingly convincing in its sadomasochistic detail, this is seriously provocative cinema, a telling reminder of what it really means to be dangerous."
‑ Trevor Johnston, Time Out
"Oshima holds nothing back. Yet watching the couple's constant lovemaking is the very opposite of erotic. Which may very well be the point. Sada and Kichizo's fantasy world is strictly private; it doesn't just shut out society, it excludes the viewer too."
‑ Jason Best, Movie Talk
"Ai No Corrida is an undeniably powerful, stylish and impressive piece of work."
‑ David Parkinson, Empire Magazine
"A graphic and extremely disturbing exploration of lust and love that deserves its reputation as a classic of world cinema."
‑ Allan Hunter, Daily Express
"Like his characters, Oshima is determined to explore and transgress sexual boundaries, if they even exist, by posing a challenge to conventional morality. [Blu-ray]"
‑ Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews
"This particular consideration of mutual possession which approaches and then transcends death is well-paced and, within story possibilities, -acted as well."
‑ Donald J. Levit, ReelTalk Movie Reviews
"Declaring yourself bored by a movie full of explicit sex may sometimes mark you out as a dreary pseudo-sophisticate, but in this case it's fair enough."
‑ Edward Porter, Times [UK]
"As the soundtrack moans in sympathy while the deep crimson colours dazzle in delirium, the entire movie comes desperately close to approximating the pell-mell emotional turmoil of sex itself. Not porn, sex."
‑ Kevin Maher, Times [UK]
"It was made 33 years ago but Nagisa Oshima's doomed lust classic doesn't look in the least bit dusty. Quite the opposite."
‑ Charlotte O'Sullivan, This is London
"quickly becomes as monotonous as bluenoses accuse it of being prurient"
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
"That graphic sexual expression is the narrative currency Oshima uses to explicate a connection between sex and death only adds to the film's incalculable power to provoke, offend, frighten, and spellbind its audience."
‑ Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com
"I still find In the Realm of the Senses impressive but it now puzzles and worries me."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"One of the most extraordinary moments in screen history. Oshima's film widens and deepens the sensual realm."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"I can only imagine critics at the initial screening ... marveling at a 20-foot penis taking up the entire screen: "Oh yeah, that totally represents the patriarchy.""
‑ Christopher Long, Movie Metropolis
"To paraphrase a crack from Pauline Kael: light the incense, perverts."
‑ Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
More reviews for In the Realm of the Senses on Rotten Tomatoes