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

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Released 23-Aug-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Biographies-Crew-Nagisa Oshima
Notes-Censorship Controversy
Trailer-Amores Perros; Betty Blue; Mullet; Paris, Texas; Romance
Trailer-The Girl Next Door; Shadow Of The Vampire
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1976
Running Time 97:37 (Case: 102)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Nagisa Oshima
Anatole Dauman
Madman Entertainment
Starring Tatsuya Fuji
Eiko Matsuda
Aoi Nakajima
Case Click
RPI $34.95 Music Minoru Miki

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.59:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    In The Realm Of The Senses is an erotic tale of passion and sexual obsession that is taken to the most extreme shocking conclusion.

    The film is based upon a series of real life events that occurred in Japan in 1936. Soon after starting work as a servant, an ex-prostitute begins an affair with the master of the household. This relationship soon escalates into an obsession that continually builds to a tragic end.

    After a limited initial release at the Sydney and Melbourne 1976 International Film Festivals, the film was banned in this country. It was finally released a year later with numerous cuts which have been present on all previous versions released. This disc is the first local release to contain the original, complete and uncensored version of the film.

    As with most films that contain a large amount of explicit sex, there is debate if the film is art or pornography. Ultimately, I believe that this is a distinction that must be made by the individual viewer for films of this nature, but I personally would not classify this film as pornography.

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Transfer Quality


    This transfer has been taken from a theatrical print, as reel change marks are visible throughout the movie. I am unaware of the availability of source materials for this film and it may be that this was the only option available for transfer, but this is still a little disappointing.

    The feature is presented at an aspect ratio of approximately 1.60:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is consistently soft throughout, but this may be due to the original material and not a result of the transfer. No low level noise was detected during the transfer at any stage. Poor shadow detail is visible during the numerous dark sections of the transfer, with very little visual information revealed in these sections. This problem may be present in the original source material but is still slightly distracting.

    The colours displayed in this transfer are slightly subdued as you would expect from any film of this age. The transfer shows a wide range of colours, including numerous skin tones and these always appear to be accurately reproduced.

    No MPEG artefacts were detected during the transfer, and pleasingly, neither were any instances of aliasing noted.

    Throughout the transfer, numerous film artefacts may be seen. Some examples of these artefacts may be seen at 3:25, 7:49, 16:36, 17:40, 20:28 and 21:51. Due to their frequency, these artefacts are slightly distracting. Some slight grain is also visible during the transfer but this is never distracting.

    A series of reel change marks are also visible during the transfer, an inevitable result of using a theatrical print as the source material. These are apparent as circular marks appearing in the top right corner of the picture. These may be seen at 18:31, 34:35, 55:10 and every fifteen to twenty minutes thereafter.

    A set of white English subtitles are burned into the image and are not able to be removed. These subtitles are at points very difficult to read when they appear over lightly coloured images as no border or solid background is provided.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    A single Dolby Digital 224 kbps 2.0 mono Japanese track is provided on this disc.

    The dialogue is always clear and easy to understand during the transfer.

    No problems with audio sync were detected during the transfer. A single audio dropout was detected at 87:49 lasting for approximately one second.

    The score by Minoru Miki utilizes traditional Japanese musical pieces and this does suit the visuals with various pieces performed on-screen by geisha.

    The surround and subwoofer channels were not utilized during the transfer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The non animated menu is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

Biography / Filmography: Nagisa Oshima

    This seven page collection of biographical notes for the director Nagisa Oshima also includes a complete filmography.

Censorship Controversy

    I was hoping that this extra would provide some insight into the banning of this film and include initial reactions as well as information relating to the cuts that were made to the film when finally released theatrically in this country. Unfortunately, the three pages provided are simply a repetition of the blurb found on the back cover with a single additional paragraph stating that the film was initially confiscated in Germany as suspected pornography. I found this extra to be very disappointing.

Trailer: Mullet (1:57)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Betty Blue (1:43)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 with a French Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Paris, Texas (2:02)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Amores Perros (2:08)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Romance (0:47)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 with a French Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack and burned in English subtitles.

Trailer: The Girl Next Door (2:10)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailer: Shadow Of The Vampire (1:28)

    This trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.


    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.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 versions of this disc miss out on;

    The UK Region 2 version of this disc misses out on;

    Two different versions of this movie have been released in Region 1. The first has Pan and Scan video with the original Japanese audio track, the second has the correct 1.66:1 video transfer but only provides an English dub track. The UK Region 2 version of this disc contains a single digitally zoomed scene and according to conflicting reviews may also possibly have an incorrect aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Clearly the Region 4 version, correctly framed, uncensored and with the original audio track is the winner here.


    In The Realm Of The Senses is an interesting story based on a series of true events that examines the extremes that obsessive relationships may reach.

    The otherwise high quality video transfer is let down by the use of a theatrical print that displays obvious reel change marks and numerous minor film artefacts.

    The Japanese audio track is faithfully reproduced and is quite adequate for the material presented.

    The minimal extras would have been greatly improved by the addition of an extensive examination of the censorship controversy that surrounds this film.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Thursday, September 20, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

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