IMDb > In the Realm of the Senses (1976)
Ai no korîda
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In the Realm of the Senses (1976) More at IMDbPro »Ai no korîda (original title)

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In the Realm of the Senses -- Still censored in its own country, In the Realm of the Senses remains one of the most controversial films of all time. A man and a woman are consumed by a transcendent, destructive love while living in an era of ever escalating imperialism and governmental control. WARNING: THIS FILM IS RATED NC-17 SEXUALLY EXPLICIT CONTENT.


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6.6/10   12,274 votes »
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Down 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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Release Date:
1 April 1977 (USA) See more »
A passionate telling of the story of Sada Abe, a woman whose affair with her master led to a sexual obsession which then came to a violent end. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
3 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Groundbreaking and unique. Yet strangely forgotten. See more (103 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Tatsuya Fuji ... Kichizo Ishida

Eiko Matsuda ... Sada Abe
Aoi Nakajima ... Toku
Yasuko Matsui ... Tagawa Inn Manager
Meika Seri ... Matsuko (Yoshidaya maid)
Kanae Kobayashi ... Old geisha Kikuryû
Taiji Tonoyama ... Old Beggar
Kyôji Kokonoe ... Teacher Ômiya
Naomi Shiraishi ... Geisha Yaeji
Shinkichi Noda
Komikichi Hori ... Mitsuwa Geisha
Kikuhei Matsunoya ... Hôkan jester
Akiko Koyama ... Mansaki Geisha
Yuriko Azuma ... Mitsuwa Geisha
Rei Minami ... Mitsuwa Geisha
Machiko Aoki ... Mitsuwa maid
Mariko Abe ... Kinu (Yoshidaya maid)
Kyôko Okada ... Hangyoku (young Geisha)
Kiyomi Yasuda ... Mitsuwa Geisha
Hiroko Fuji ... O-Tsune (Yoshidaya head maid)
Tômi Mitsuboshi ... Chieko (Yoshidaya maid)
Kimiko Ishii
Katsue Tamiyama ... Fat Mansaki maid
Hitomi Fukuhara ... Bullseye Umbrella Girl
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hiroko Fujino ... (uncredited)
Kazune Tomiyama ... (uncredited)

Directed by
Nagisa Ôshima 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Nagisa Ôshima 

Produced by
Anatole Dauman .... producer
Original Music by
Minoru Miki 
Cinematography by
Hideo Itô  (as Hideo Ito)
Film Editing by
Patrick Sauvion 
Keiichi Uraoka 
Production Design by
Shigemasa Toda 
Set Decoration by
Jusho Toda 
Costume Design by
Masahiro Katô 
Shigemasa Toda 
Makeup Department
Kikue Osawa .... hair stylist
Koji Takemura .... makeup artist
Production Management
Susumu Iwabushi .... production manager
Eiko Oshima .... production manager
Katsue Tomiyama .... production manager
Shigeru Wakatsuki .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Saburo Li .... assistant director
Masayuki Motomochi .... assistant director
Yôichi Sai .... assistant director
Shizuo Satô .... assistant director
Art Department
Hitoshi Nojiri .... property master
Takashi Ueno .... property master
Sound Department
Henri Humbert .... sound recordist
Alex Pront .... sound recordist
Tetsuo Yasuda .... sound recordist
Special Effects by
Terumi Hosoishi .... special effects
Isao Nishimura .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Hiroaki Fujiama .... electrician
Kenichi Okamoto .... lighting technician
Other crew
Claire Painchault .... assistant

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Ai no korîda" - Japan (original title)
"Love's Bullfight" - International (English title) (literal title)
See more »
UK:109 min | 109 min (original version) | Argentina:103 min | Australia:107 min (2000 re-release) | Norway:104 min | Argentina:98 min (DVD version) | 102 min (final version) | USA:94 min (R-rated version) (reconstructed version)
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.50 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:X (orginal rating) | Argentina:18 (re-rating) | Australia:R (re-rating) (2000) | Australia:(Banned) (1992-2000) | Brazil:18 | Canada:R (Manitoba) | Canada:(Banned) (Nova Scotia) | Canada:18+ (Quebec) | Canada:R (Alberta) (1998) | Canada:R (Ontario) (1991) | Chile:18 | Finland:K-15 (DVD version) | Finland:K-16 (uncut) (1997) | Finland:K-18 (uncut) (1992) | Finland:(Banned) (uncut) (1978) | Finland:(Banned) (cut) (1977) | Finland:(Banned) (uncut) (1976) | France:-16 | Germany:18 | Hong Kong:III | Hungary:18 | Iceland:Unrated | Ireland:(Banned) | Italy:VM18 | Japan:(Banned) (original rating) | Japan:R-18 (re-rating) | New Zealand:(Banned) (original rating) | New Zealand:R18 (re-rating) (2001) | Norway:18 | Portugal:M/18 | Singapore:(Banned) | South Korea:18 (1999) | Sweden:15 (cut) | UK:18 | USA:X (original rating) | USA:NC-17 (re-rating) (1991)

Did You Know?

Shot in Japan, the undeveloped film had to be shipped to France for development, due to Japan's strict censorship policies.See more »
Kichizo:[talking to Sada] A girl like you can stab a man's heart without a knife, huh?See more »


What are the differences between the old BBFC 18 Version and the Uncensored Version?
See more »
52 out of 73 people found the following review useful.
Groundbreaking and unique. Yet strangely forgotten., 23 July 2000
Author: pillok-2 ( from Glasgow, Scotland

It has been described as the Japanese Last Tango in Paris- a fair comparison. For both films explore in a truly raw and puissant manner the sexuality and psychology of sex. Ai No Corrida is an overwhelming experience, if for nothing else than its sheer audacity. But Corrida is so much more than sex. It delves into a shrouded netherworld of experimentation and pain. The world of De Sade.

Yet it is not turgid or depraved; it is not repugnant or diabolical. It is a poetic voyage into the unknown. It is about the search for pure fulfillment and pleasure. Nothing else in the world presented matters, reality is discarded. And thus the cause for the tragedy which ensues.

The two protagonists separate themselves from all that is real for they know that to find true happiness they must transcend all levels of reality and consciousness to a mighty plane. But such a place is transient. Yet the few glorious moments in such a world are worth any heartache that follows.

It was a film ahead of its time and I believe that it is still. The sparse few in the audience snickering and snorting confirmed this. It is one of those films whose reputation has preceded it and is so well known in Arthouse circles that disappointment may be said to be inevitable. But this film lives up to its reputation. For it is a truly explicit and daring film as it challenges the common perception that happiness is conformity. It proposes that true happiness is unobtainable in this world and to gain it you must sacrifice the flesh, to forward and improve the soul.

Yet this film made twenty-four years ago has been forgotten in the industry for where is its influence, its mark? Few films have used pornography in such a way since. And sex is still relegated to the flea-pit cinemas and backstreet shops. Arthouse films which depict sex, even those which do so explicitly, present it as the result of the character's exploration or development. As a curiosity, or as symbolic of the ascension of a particular player. Corrida uses sex to forward the plot, to illustrate the personalities of its protagonists, to symbolize everything in their fragile society. Sex is the plot development, sex is the key player and sex is the message. The sex takes centre stage. Each new scene is the result of sex, not vice versa.

This truly original concept has never taken hold. Why not? Surely the Arthouse circuit would realize the potential and milk it dry. And yet Corrida and a handful of others are the only films to take advantage.

This is why Ai No Corrida is a masterpiece. The acting, the direction, script etc... are all brilliant. But the ideas and concepts and invention are what makes Corrida one of the most superb films ever made. A film unknown except to those in the Arena. A film which took no hold, was as distant and mysterious as the world it depicted. A fleeting landmark that should have shook the world; but, maybe rightly, will always remain a forgotten treasure.

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