Nagisa Oshima directed In the Realm of the Senses in 1976.
Portrait of a film: a sexually explicit film about absolute love. Considered to be pornographic by its director, it was regarded as an ‘art’ film in many countries. It was filmed in Japan, but produced and edited in France to avoid Japanese censorship. A unique film in the history of the cinema.
Portrait of an era: the story takes place in the 1930s.The film was made in 1975, in a period that witnessed sexual liberation, the rise of feminism and the celebration of pleasure. The success of pornographic films allowed Nagisa Oshima to make a film about the sensuality repressed by the triumph of Japanese militarism in the 1930s. The film was inspired by a real event, the love affair between Sada Abe and the innkeeper she killed in the throes of sex in 1936. Her trial made her into an icon of love in Japan.
Portrait of a director: Nagisa Oshima is one of his country’s greatest directors, an emblematic figure of the Japanese New Wave. In the 1970s, the Japanese cinema was in crisis, and international co-production was necessary to finance films. After he stopped directing films for the cinema in 1972, Oshima made documentaries and was the host of a television series for women. It was by arrangement with the French producer Anatole Dauman that he was able to make «In the Realm of the Senses».