Nagisa OshimaJapan102 minutes1976ColourJapanese
Banned, butchered, debated and denounced when it was released — it caused riots at Cannes, was forbidden in Ontario and severely censored in its home country — Nagisa Oshima's ferocious tale of sexual obsession has since taken its place as a classic of world cinema. An exquisite spectacle that links various kinds of bondage and subjugation — between man and woman, master and servant, individual and state — Senses is based on a notorious criminal case from 1936, in which a maid murdered and castrated her employer after several days of sequestered lovemaking with him. The film portrays an erotic abandon so absolute that it creates its own world: one can veritably smell the room in which the lovers isolate themselves, its mats soaked with sake, sweat, semen, urine, and, in the final shocking sequence, a sluice of blood. Hardcore sex, hardcore politics, thrilling cinema.