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Ai No Corrida

Nagisa Oshima

In The Realm of the Senses

Oshima’s erotic masterpiece, based on a real-life 1936 love affair between the maid at a japanese inn and her married employer. The film was vilified by prudish critics and came under concerted attack from censors, but has also been praised as one of the most liberating – and unexploitative – treatments of sexual passion ever filmed.
Empire of the Senses details the literally uncontrollable passion between the two lovers who turn their backs on one of the most repressive periods in Japanese history to lose themselves in their own, erotic universe. Their love is consummated in many different ways until it reaches, by mutual agreement, a climax that goes beyond the merely sexual. (The real-life maid was arrested for the murder of her employer, whose severed penis was found concealed about her person.) Not surprisingly, the film provoked considerable, short-sighted, outrage – it was banned as obscene by U.S. customs the day before it was due to be shown at the New York Film Festival – but has come to be regarded as a classic

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