IMDb > Pleasures of the Flesh (1965)

Pleasures of the Flesh (1965) More at IMDbPro »Etsuraku (original title)

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Fûtarô Yamada (novel)
Nagisa Ôshima (screenplay)
View company contact information for Pleasures of the Flesh on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
December 1965 (USA) See more »
After Atsushi commits murder, he is blackmailed into keeping a suitcase full of embezzled money. What follows is a descent into lustful, reckless actions and regret. | Add synopsis »
Oshima's Outlaw Sixties DVD Box Set Review
 (From Twitch. 24 May 2010, 6:09 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
moody, angst-ridden Japanese noir that could have been more, especially from this director See more (8 total) »


  (in credits order)
Katsuo Nakamura ... Atsushi Wakizaka
Mariko Kaga ... Shoko
Yumiko Nogawa ... Hitomi
Masako Yagi ... Shizuko
Toshiko Higuchi ... Mari
Hiroko Shimizu ... Keiko
Shôichi Ozawa ... Hayami
Kei Satô ... Police inspector
Rokkô Toura ... Sakurai
Fumio Watanabe ... Hanawa gang member
Hôsei Komatsu ... Egi
Akiji Kobayashi ... Mari's pimp
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tôru Emori
Akira Hamada ... (uncredited)
Mamoru Hirata ... (uncredited)
Naramasa Komatsu ... (uncredited)
Daigo Kusano ... Pimp (uncredited)

Directed by
Nagisa Ôshima 
Writing credits
Fûtarô Yamada (novel "Kan no naka no etsuraku")

Nagisa Ôshima (screenplay)

Produced by
Masayuki Nakajima .... producer
Original Music by
Jôji Yuasa 
Cinematography by
Akira Takada 
Film Editing by
Keiichi Uraoka 
Art Direction by
Yasutarô Kon 
Sound Department
Hideo Nishizaki .... sound
Special Effects by
Koshi Hirata .... lightning
Camera and Electrical Department
Mitsuharu Hirata .... gaffer

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Etsuraku" - Japan (original title)
See more »
Japan:104 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Etsuraku BluesSee more »


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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
moody, angst-ridden Japanese noir that could have been more, especially from this director, 26 November 2011
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States

For a movie called 'Pleasures of the Flesh' this was actually a fairly tame time. Specifically, if you're considering that you'll see some of that 'Wow-wa-wee-wa!' sexuality that Oshima made so notorious with In the Realm of the Senses you may just be outright disappointed. This story comes more by way of a precursor to a 'Leaving Las Vegas' where it's about a guy who goes on a path of self-destruction after being blackmailed into holding on to thirty million dollars by a man who saw our protagonist (Ashima) kill another man on a train. A lot of this plot doesn't really need to be explained - or rather, the movie does a helluva job explaining it to us again and again when not really necessary - and the main thrust is about a kind of guilt and shame filled trek into despair. Cheery, of course.

I don't know if Oshima's direction had quite gotten to the point it had in just the next few films he would make - i.e. Violence at Noon, Sing a Song of Sex, and the best of them Japanese Summer: Double Suicide - where he could make a compelling plot with a wild and idiosyncratic vision with the camera (the man simply shoots wide-shots and close-ups like no one else, somehow with him people are farther away and when close you can see the whites of their eyes). Here, he's got a solid premise, and some fine acting from his lead and a couple of supporting players, but has too much explanation of things going on and not enough, frankly, titillation. We see the character hand off money, lots of it, recklessly (which is good to see) for the women he acquires, the most interesting being a wife who is sleeping with him so he can support his husband and children (when he confronts Ashima it's really quite a tense scene, mostly for how seemingly nice or mean he could be in the same breath).

But at the same time we only see a little of how he really soaks up this 'pleasure' (albeit maybe the the title of the book this is based on, Pleasures in a Coffin, could have been an indicator for the film-noir-ish nihilism on display). A lot of the film is spent with the character lamenting his lost love, a once pupil of his who married someone else (and was part of the cause of this whole thing to begin with), and being a self-destructive ass around those he makes love to; one memorable scene has him on a beach in a situation with a woman where no one comes out well, and yet brings a marriage. You know, the kind of marriage that actually has a 'divorce-by' date included.

The cinematography in color brings out (oddly enough) the melancholy state of things, and the paranoia that builds in the third act is convincing and palpable. If only there was a little more focus, or just a stronger sense of the degradation of the character past the carelessness of the money (maybe more dangerous-type scenes like a gangster threatening one of his women with acid to the face), it could have been something special. As it is, Pleasures of the Flesh is more like a 'nice' (I hate to use that word but it is) indicator of the darker recessed the filmmaker would go into just in a year or so.

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