Thursday, January 29, 2009

"In the Realm of the Senses" and "Empire of Passion" coming from the Criterion Collection

by Chris MaGee

In all of the rushing, researching and writing of this month's Top Ten List it seems that an important new Criterion Collection release slipped through the cracks for a couple days. The irony is that it was number 3 on our list! That's right, the Criterion Collection will be releasing Nagisa Oshima's 1976 classic "In the Realm of the Senses" on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 28th, and the really good news is that it will be unedited. Of course Criterion never cuts their films, but rarely have they released a film that's as explicit (and potentially controversial) as this one. Of course Marty Gross and his crew have done a great job again with the supporting extras on the disc including a brand new interview with lead actor Tatsuya Fuji, plus a 1976 interview with Oshima, Fuji and lead actress Eiko Matsuda whose career sadly didn't survive the firestorm of controversy surrounding the film.

But wait, it doesn't end there... On the same day Criterion will also be releasing Oshima's 1978 film "Empire of Passion" again starring Tatsuya Fuji, but this time as the young lover of Seki, a married woman (Kazuko Yoshiyuki) who together conspire to kill Seki's husband and dump his body down a well. Asthe blurb on the Criterion site explains "Empire of Passion was Oshima’s only true kaidan (Japanese ghost story)", so this will be a must to pick up. Sorry all you Blu-Ray folks, though. This one is only getting the standard DVD treatment.

For more details on these and other upcoming Criterion Collection releases head on over to their official site here.


logboy said...

i don't know about the claim that 'in the realm of the senses' will be uncut, or that criterion don't cut their films - sometimes they might have no choice, just as with 'salo' having footage missing that appeared in the UK disc which was released around the same time as theirs last year... also, note there's a sequence in 'in the realm of the senses' that's always (thus far) been censored in one way or another, hence the discussion about concerns over what will actually have happened by the time someone gets their hands on a disc for this release...

Chris MaGee said...

I was speaking with Marty Gross at the Criterion Collection who was involved with the project and he assured me that the film is uncut. We discussed some of the potential "trouble" scenes or sequences in the film and all will be there, in fact they're even including deleted scenes on the disc.