Empire of Passion (The Criterion Collection)
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SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:
New, restored high-definition digital transfer
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
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
Winner: Best Director, 1978 Cannes Film Festival
Top Customer Reviews
Japan 1895, in a small Japanese village, a comely woman named Seki (Kazuko Yoshiyuki) is married to a rickshaw driver named Gisaburo (Takahiro Tamura). Seki is a lot older than she looks, she barely looks 30, and is only a few years younger than her husband; they have two kids and although they lead a hard life, they seem content. Her youthful features make her the apple of the eyes of an ex-soldier named Toyoji (Tatsuya Fuji). The two develop a friendship, often flirting, until Toyoji forces himself on Seki. Seki tries to fight him off but eventually gives in, and the two begin a forbidden affair. The couple plots to kill Gisaburo and to throw his body in an old well, but this crime would carry a heavy toll on the guilt-ridden lovers. A constable named Hotta (Takuzo Kawatani) is finally drawn by suspicion because of the rumors around the townsfolk, and to make matters worst, Gisaburo's ghost begins to haunt Seki...
"Empire of Passion" may carry strong elements of horror, the film only uses this as a backdrop. The film's main premise is very simple, but it is structured well around the destruction by one's succumbing to passion.Read more ›
Despite advertising, and despite the leading lady's loveliness in deshabille, I find it hard to call this "erotic." Yes, there are some moments of figleafed intimacy, but the play only minor parts in the movie as a whole. As a ghost story, it's better the fair. In the end, though, limits of shelf space demand that I give this movie's place to something I'll get greater future enjoyment from.
It takes place in a late 19th century Japanese village. This story simmers on themes of temptation, guilt, and retribution. Seki and her secret lover, Toyoji, plot to kill Seki's husband and toss his body in a well. Some lies simply won't stay buried.
This action causes town gossip, police investigations, bad dreams, and eventually some haunting visions.
Empire of Passion is a subtle mixture of eroticism and horror. No angry ghosts leaping out of closets. No decaying corpses spewing blood and puss. Plus the sex scenes aren't especially graphic. But it utilizes the less-is-more technique to near perfection, landing Oshima a Best Director award at the '78 Cannes Film Festival. It never quite reaches the stunning, creepy status of ONIBABA, nor does it have the exquisite cinematography as displayed in UGETSU. But still this is a stellar ghost film, just waiting to be savagedly butchered by an American remake.
SIDE NOTE: Most of the reviews on this product page seem to be for the more controversial, erotic film IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES? Weird.
Winner of the best director award in the Cannes film festival in 1978, the story is built on an erotic melodrama combined with a ghost story horror elements. It takes place in Japan circa 1895, in a small village, an attractive woman named Seki (Kazuko Yoshiyuki) is married to a rickshaw driver , Gisaburo (Takahiro Tamura) who is clearly older, and disillusioned with his life. Although they have two children and lead a hard life, they seem content, though we see very quickly into the film that Seki is more than ready for an adventure to bring some inspiration into the dullness of her life. Her youthful features make her the target of the attentions of a retired soldier, Toyoji (Tatsuya Fuji) who happens to look extremely attractive in his black military jacket with no shirt and a sexy mustache. The two develop a flirtation, until it leads to Toyoji raping Seki in one of his visits. She tries to fight him off but it feels too good and not even the crying from her infant son can distract her from this fatal attraction, so she succumbs, and the two begin a passionate, sexually intense affair. Obviously Toyoji has had a lot more experience in life and he manipulates Seki into joining forces with him to kill her husband.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"Empire of Passion" feels like a film adaptation of an old Japanese folk-tale. It is a simple plot of lust gone bad where passion exercises control over conscience and... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Mylz
Very creepy, passionate(it's dirty, folks!), dark, and gooey. Excellent film. Wonderful imagery!Published 12 months ago by Nelek
Very good picture quality and the movie itself is also excllent !!!Published 14 months ago by A Movie Collector
If you search my reviews, you will find that I'm a big fan of Japanese films. I thought (but did not review) that "In The Realm Of The Senses" was a fascinating study of obsession... Read morePublished on October 8, 2009 by James Steve Robles
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