Set in 1930s Tokyo and based on real events, Ôshima’s graphic film portrays the intense affair between a hotel owner and a former prostitute who works for him as a maid, two lovers so consumed by lust and each other that their retreat from the real world has shocking consequences.
The film achieved instant notoriety when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1976, and was restricted for years by censors throughout the world. Its importance as a major work has been acknowledged since it has been widely available in the West since the early 1990s, yet it still hasn’t been shown uncut in Japan. (Notes by Michael Hayden.)
This film is screening as part of Sex, the first of our three-month season dedicated to excess, presenting examples of how cinema has taken on sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll in Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll.
See also our monthly film from the IFI Irish Film Archive, From the Vaults: I Can’t I Can’t, which screens on January 22nd.