6.6/10
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In the Realm of the Senses (1976)

Ai no korîda (original title)
NC-17 | | Drama, Romance | 1 April 1977 (USA)
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.

Director:

Nagisa Ôshima

Writer:

Nagisa Ôshima
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tatsuya Fuji ... Kichizo Ishida
Eiko Matsuda ... Sada Abe
Aoi Nakajima Aoi Nakajima ... Toku
Yasuko Matsui Yasuko Matsui ... Tagawa Inn Manager
Meika Seri Meika Seri ... Matsuko (Yoshidaya maid)
Kanae Kobayashi Kanae Kobayashi ... Old geisha Kikuryû
Taiji Tonoyama ... Old Beggar
Kyôji Kokonoe ... Teacher Ômiya
Naomi Shiraishi Naomi Shiraishi ... Geisha Yaeji
Shinkichi Noda Shinkichi Noda
Komikichi Hori Komikichi Hori ... Mitsuwa Geisha
Kikuhei Matsunoya Kikuhei Matsunoya ... Hôkan jester
Akiko Koyama Akiko Koyama ... Mansaki Geisha
Yuriko Azuma Yuriko Azuma ... Mitsuwa Geisha
Rei Minami Rei Minami ... Mitsuwa Geisha
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Storyline

Based on a true story set in pre-war Japan, a man and one of his servants begin a torrid affair. Their desire becomes a sexual obsession so strong that to intensify their ardor, they forsake all, even life itself. Written by Allen Brown <browna@ohsu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The most talked about film in the world today See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

NC-17 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan | France

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

1 April 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

In the Realm of the Senses See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(original) | (2000 re-release) | (DVD) | (final) | (reconstructed version) (R-rated) (reconstructed)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.50 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Quotes

Kichizo: [talking to Sada] A girl like you can stab a man's heart without a knife, huh?
See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1977, the uncut version was banned in Australia. The film was cut by over 4 minutes to secure an R rating for theatrical release. A home video release in 1982 was also a cut version. The uncut version was not awarded an R rating until September 2000, when all previous cuts were waived by the Office of Film and Literature Classification. An uncut Australian DVD was issued by Madman Entertainment in August 2001. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! Part 2 (2006) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Overshadowed by the pointless "art" versus "porn" debate!
16 October 2001 | by InfofreakSee all my reviews

'Empire Of The Senses' is one of the least seen and much debated movies of the Seventies. "Least seen" because in many countries, including the one I live in, it has been banned, or only available in censored versions for many years. This movie divides people - those that like it hail it as ART, those that don't dimiss it snobbishly as PORN. Both camps are fooling themselves! 'Empire Of The Senseless' is BOTH.

Is it "serious"? Yes. Is it voyeuristic and prurient? Yes. Is it a masterpiece? Not quite. Is it worth watching? Very much so. In fact I'd say it was essential viewing for anyone interested in extreme or taboo-breaking movies.

The Seventies were the decade where the boundaries of screen sex, violence and disturbing imagery were repeatedly stretched. Peckinpah's 'Straw Dogs' and 'Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia', Bertolucci's 'Last Tango In Paris', Scorsese's 'Taxi Driver', Kubrick's 'A Clockwork Orange',were all milestones, and the the art movies of Herzog, Warhol, Pasolini, and Jodorowsky battled it out with the horror and exploitation of Russ Meyer, Dario Argento, John Waters,and David Cronenberg. Add to that the unexpected crossover success of 'Deep Throat' and the very existence of shockers like 'Ilse, She Wolf Of The SS' and 'Cannibal Holocaust', and what do you get? The artificial and meaningless divisions of genres, "high art" vs "trash", new ways of thinking vs new ways of making money, it was all on the table. For one brief decade it looked like a brave new world.

Then everything that was gained was lost - Spielberg and Simpson/Bruckheimer cleaned up (financially and aesthetically), and things have never been the same since. Watch 'Empire Of The Senseless' with that in mind. It may be flawed - you'll be alternatively fascinated and bored - but it is an important movie from an important period in movie history.


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