By Peggy Nelson
In the Realm of the Senses – dir. Nagisa Oshima – 1976
Nagisa Oshima’s tale of sexual obsession, In the Realm of the Senses, retains the power to shock despite being over 30 years old. Based on a true story, the film concerns one Sada Abe, found wandering the streets of 1936 Tokyo with her lover’s severed penis in her hand, who upon her arrest became a media sensation and folk heroine. Realm features non-simulated sex between the actors, BDSM, graphic violence, and other controversial elements that may or may not appear depending on what version you’re viewing, and where you’re viewing it. Widely banned upon release, it is perhaps Oshima’s best-known film.