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In the Realm of the Senses (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

174 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Still censored in its own country, In the Realm of the Senses (Ai no corrida), by Japanese director Nagisa Oshima, remains one of the most controversial films of all time. A graphic portrayal of insatiable sexual desire, Oshima's film, set in 1936 and based on a true incident, depicts a man and a woman (Tatsuya Fuji and Eiko Matsuda) consumed by a transcendent, destructive love while living in an era of ever escalating imperialism and governmental control. Less a work of pornography than of politics, In the Realm of the Senses is a brave, taboo-breaking milestone.

New, restored high-definition digital transfer with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
New audio commentary with film scholar Tony Rayns
New interview with actor Tatsuya Fuji
A 1976 interview with director Nagisa Oshima and actors Fuji and Eiko Matsuda, and a 2003 program featuring interviews with consulting producer Hayao Shibata, line producer, Koji Wakamatsu, assistant director Yoichi Sai, and film distributor Yoko Asakura
Deleted footage
U.S. trailer
New and improved English subtitle translation
PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by Japanese film scholar Donald Richie and a reprinted interview with Oshima


Oshima's erotic masterpiece. --Geoff Andrew, Time Out

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Tatsuya Fuji, Akiko Koyama, Eiko Matsuda, Aoi Nakajima, Meika Seri
  • Directors: Nagisa Oshima
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 1, 2010
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001PYD0KW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,329 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "In the Realm of the Senses (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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133 of 144 people found the following review helpful By on December 18, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Nagisa Oshima has achieved what few other directors have managed in dealing with the very touchy subject of sex, in this instance, with sexual obsession. If you plan to watch this movie for a cheap sexual thrill, you will be most disappointed. Oshima has drawn from a real incident reported in a 1936 Japanese newspaper. The film centers around the love between two people expressed physically, graphically, into realms of the senses where few dare to tread. And with good reason. This is a very intense film as it progresses from the attraction of two people through increasing experimentation in an effort not only to express their passion but to try to find the outer most limits of passion itself. Oshima must have had something metaphorical in mind but the journey as chronicled in the film also has retained the feel of the specifics. It's quirkey and eccentric. The backdrop of the story is as interesting as the story itself. It is an amazing spectacle to observe, giving the viewer a perspective on Japanese life not usually rendered but often alluded to in some historical accounts. One wonders what this experience must have been like for the actors. Oshima has managed what I have always believed should be done in order to treat the subject of sex fully and without shrinking from its' less savory aspects. This is serious minded erotica and quite unlike anything else on screen. The only other film I can recall that compares at all is "Taxi Zum Klo" which was autobiographical and starred a number of actual people playing themselves.Obviously a different catagory in that regard from what is going on here, but both films draw much of their power from explicitly sexual scenes without compromising the integrity of the story being told. This is a film experience that should not be missed.
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153 of 167 people found the following review helpful By Mark Norvell on October 21, 2002
Format: DVD
This is an amazing film to watch. Not only is it beautifully filmed but the atmosphere is quite vivid in its' depiction of a Japanese servant girl who becomes mistress of the master of the house and sexually obsessed with their relationship. She leads him deeper into the sexual realm until it becomes the focus of both their lives. Their relationship becomes so intense that it can only lead to destruction. Film is extremely sexually graphic and to be honest, I wasn't even aware that I was watching "pornography" because the acting and story were so mesmerizing. By then, I didn't care because it wasn't offensive---just honest. The two leads are wonderful actors and they made me forget I was watching a supposedly one-time controversial film. The film is supposedly based on a true incident. The ending is shocking and depressing but that's allegedly what happened. I consider this film a classic and a must see for foreign film buffs. It's one of the most beautiful erotic love stories ever made and one of the most disturbing.
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187 of 208 people found the following review helpful By Ken2001 on July 29, 2001
Format: DVD
This movie is probably the most erotic film that I've seen to date (pornos notwithstanding). It is a movie about obsession and what can happen when it gets out of control, something that this movie demonstrates well. However, I wished the movie had delved into the background of the characters, especially Sada's. If the audience watching this film knew about Sada's past, where she was raped and then outcaste by her wealthy family because of it, I think the audience would have a better understanding about the reason for Sada's behavior. Still, despite that and an undeveloped plot, the movie is still entertaining. However, if you want to see a more sanitized version of this story, which is based on an actual event that took place in Tokyo in 1936, then get "A Woman Called Sada Abe", which is available on both VHS and DVD. From what I've heard, it doesn't have nearly as much sex and nudity as "In the Realm of the Senses", which is a good thing for people who are easily offended by it. Personally, I liked the sex scenes, which I felt were tasteful and elegant, unlike what would normally be found in a pornographic movie. There was a lot of emotion displayed in those scenes, and that gave it a certain romantic, authentic dimension to it. For that reason alone, I will watch it again and again.
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81 of 90 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 18, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Fox-Lorber has devised a new level of cruelty for fans of this film. You can have a full-screen version with subtitles or a widescreen version with dubbing. What you need is a widescreen version with subtitles. The dubbing turns this dark parable into a sleazy porno film. The images are carefully and beautifully composed - you don't need them chopped up by pan and scan. In addition, the English language version (the only one I've seen) has horrible 'ghosting' along the edges of any high-contrast contour - it looks like it was dubbed from a poor over-the-air tv transmission! It's also slightly censored - not the version I saw overseas, anyway...Until someone offers a decent DVD version of this film, I recommend passing on these insultingly inferior transfers.
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Format: DVD
"For four days, carrying the part she'd severed from his body, Sada wandered through Tokyo. Those arresting her were astounded that she glowed with happiness. The story shocked all of Japan. The compassion of the people made her strangely popular. These events took place in 1936."

As described by the final voice over of the narrator, the subject matter of "In the Realm of the Senses" is the most lurid true story to come out of Japan in the years before World War II. On May 18, 1936, a woman named Sada Abe strangled her lover, Kichizo Ishida, during sex at the hotel he owned. Sada was a maid in the household, having apparently retired from being a prostitute, and began an affair with her master that explored passion and pain during sex. That he would permit her to erotically asphyxiate him might have been enough to make this story a national sensation, but after Kichizo was dead she amputated his genitals and carried them with her as she wandered the streets of Tokyo for several days before she was arrested.

Nagisa Oshima's 1976 film tells the story of this troubled relationship, although it does not end with Sada's capture, but with her holding her dead lover after she has taken her grisly memento and written "Sada and Kichi, now one" in his blood on his chest while we hear the finally narration. Prior to that the film is about the dynamic of the relationship between Sada and Kichizo, with their sexual relationship explicitly presented as they travel the road to their entwined destiny. Consequently, I would consider "In the Realm of the Senses" to be a dramatic film with explicit sex scenes rather than a pornographic film with strong dramatic elements.
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I don't understand why Amazon does this; they put all reviews under all versions so you have no idea which one you are getting. The picture on the cover has "R' on it and if you note this is also "PAL, region 2", so I can't watch it. I want this DVD, but I will buy it from someone... Read More
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In the Realm of the Senses (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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