In the Realm of the Senses (Ai no corrida) (Umbrella) (1976)

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Released 31-Mar-2008

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Featurette-Cinema & Censorship - The Films of Nagisa Oshima
Trailer-Umbrella Trailers
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1976
Running Time 97:42
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Nagisa Oshima
Studio
Distributor

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Tatsuya Fuji
Eiko Matsuda
Aoi Nakajima
Yasuko Matsui
Meika Seri
Kanae Kobayashi
Taiji Tonoyama
KyŰji Kokonoe
Naomi Shiraishi
Shinkichi Noda
Komikichi Hori
Kikuhei Matsunoya
Akiko Koyama
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Minoru Miki


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.59:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Nagisa Oshima's film, In The Realm Of The Senses (Ai no corrida ) has a colourful history of censorship, not only in Australia, but worldwide. On its release in 1976 the film was banned outright in many countries. Even these days, the film has any number of versions, depending on the country and the code of censorship.

In local terms, In The Realm Of The Senses premiered uncut at the Sydney and Melbourne Film Festivals in 1976, but was promptly banned there after. Since then, the film has been re-submitted to the Film Censorship Board (now called the Office of Film and Literature Classification) (OFLC) on many occasions. Although the board has since granted R certificates to the film, on nearly every occasion some cuts or modifications had to be made to obtain this rating.

In The Realm Of The Senses contains scenes of a graphic sexual nature, which includes actual sex acts. Long before production began on the film, Oshima was aware that the film would face strict censorship laws and legal issues in Japan. The solution was for the film to become a French and Japanese co-production. Subsequently, all of the film processing and post-production services were done in France, thus avoiding these censorship problems.

The basic premise of the film is based on actual events, which occurred in Japan back in 1936. A woman by the name of Sada Abe (Eiko Matsuda) accidentally killed her lover, Kichizo Ishida (Tatsuya Fuji ) during an act of erotic asphyxiation. Devastated by his death, she then cut off his genitals and walked the streets of Tokyo with them in her bag until being arrested by police. This story is very well known in Japan and has been the subject of many books and films.

In The Realm Of The Senses concentrates mainly on their intense relationship and Sada's obsessive attitude towards her lover. The film rarely ventures outdoors as sex scene follows sex scene. Their relationship reaches a destructive pinnacle when the intensity of their sex becomes dangerous and edges closer to tragedy.

This edition of In The Realm Of The Senses has a minor censorship issue. Go to the Censorship section of this review to learn more.

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Transfer Quality

Video

In The Realm Of The Senses is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.62:1, which is not 16x9 enhanced. The correct aspect ratio for the film is 1.66:1.

The degree of sharpness varied throughout, but overall the transfer displayed a slightly soft appearance. I can't say whether this is inherent in the source, but either way, it was certainly not problematic. Blacks were deep and clean, but shadow detail was often undefined.

The colour red is used in abundance throughout the film. This and all other colours appeared nicely balanced and natural.

There were no MPEG artefacts noticed in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts were well controlled. Film artefacts were minor and very infrequent.

The only available subtitles are English, which are burned into the print. They are easily legible in bold white.

This is a single sided, dual layer disc. The layer change occurs at 73:55 and is perfectly placed between scenes.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

There is one audio track available on the DVD, Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s).

Although my comprehension of the Japanese language is nil, the dialogue quality certainly seemed to be clean.

There were no obvious issues with audio sync.

The original music score by Minoru Miki is very traditional and compliments the atmosphere of the film really well.

The surround channels and subwoofer were not called upon.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

The main menu is static, 16x9 enhanced and features a sample of Minoru Miki's score.

Featurette - Cinema & Censorship - The Films of Nagisa Oshima (39:34)

This informative discussion with filmmaker, Solrun Hoaas was produced this year by Umbrella Entertainment exclusively for their Nagisa Oshima DVD releases. Solrun talks about Oshima's life and his career in film, which includes plenty of footage from many of his rarely seen films. Recommended viewing.

Note: This is the same extra that also features on the Umbrella release of Nagisa Oshima's, Empire Of The Passions.

Umbrella Trailers

  • La BÍte (3:31)
  • A Short Film About Killing (2:36)
  • A Short Film About Love (2:30)
  • Queen Margot (2:12)

    Censorship

        There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

    R4 vs R1

    NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    It appears to be quite difficult to find an easily available edition of this film which has an anamorphic transfer. Nearly every edition also lacks the inclusion of decent extras. I will highlight just a couple of examples.

    An American, region free version released by Fox Lorber in May 2000 has no extras and no subtitles. The only audio track available on this disc is a dubbed English track. Another region free version of the film released in the US, has the English subtitles, but again, no extras.

    A R2 edition of In The Realms Of The Senses released by Nouveaux Pictures in 2001 has the addition of some minor extras including, a ten image photo gallery and the director's filmography.

    There are a confusing number of versions of this film available on DVD worldwide. It's unclear as to the level of censorship (if any) in each of these editions. Naturally, this will vary from edition to edition and country to country, so some research is essential before you make a purchase.

    Footnote: There was a previous R4 release of In The Realm Of The Senses, which is now unavailable. This edition was released by Madman Entertainment in August 2001and was marketed as "The director's original, complete and uncut version". This version and the Umbrella release both have the same running time, although the Madman edition has the "children playing" scene without any modification.

    Summary

    With In The Realm Of The Senses, Nagisa Oshima was successful in what he set out to achieve; to distort the line between art and pornography. Since its release more than thirty years ago, the film has divided opinion and kept the censors busy. This is another one for the DVD collections of cult cinema aficionados.

    The video and audio transfers are quite good.

    The Nagisa Oshima featurette is an excellent inclusion on the DVD.


  • Ratings (out of 5)

    Video
    Audio
    Extras
    Plot
    Overall

    © Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
    Monday, April 28, 2008
    Review Equipment
    DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
    DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
    Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
    AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
    SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

    Other Reviews NONE
    Comments (Add)
    Seems familiar... - Wilson Bros, UK REPLY POSTED