- Rated: Unrated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 45 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: April 28, 2009
- Originally Released: 1980
- Label: Criterion
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.66
- Dolby Digital Mono - Japanese
- Subtitles - English
- Additional Release Material:
- Video Essay - Catherine Russell, Critic
- Kazuo Yoshiyuk, Actor
- Tatsuya Fuji, Actor
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Cannes 1978 -
Best Director: Nagisa Oshima
A.V. Club - 05/27/2009
"EMPIRE OF PASSION also follows an affair with destructive impulses, but Oshima broadens his focus beyond the bedroom and into the details of late-19th-century rural life and the traditions of the Japanese ghost stories." -- Grade: B+
A passionate ghost story about in which a betrayed husband returns to haunt his wife and her lover.
With an arresting mix of eroticism and horror, Oshima plunges the viewer into a nightmarish tale of guilt and retribution in Empire of Passion (Ai no borei). Set in a Japanese village at the end of the nineteenth century, the film details the emotional and physical downfall of a married woman (Kazuko Yoshiyuki) and her younger lover (Tatsuya Fuji) following their decision to murder her husband and dump his body in a well. Empire of Passion was Oshima's only true kaidan (Japanese ghost story), and the film, a savage, unrelenting experience, earned him the best director award at the Cannes Film Festival.
"In the Realm of Passion" was based on a true story of sexual obsession and murder. In a small Japanese village in 1895, Seki, the 40-year-old wife of rickshaw driver Gisaburo, is courted and seduced by Toyoji, a young man just out of military service. Their passionate affair leads them to plot and successfully execute the murder of Gisaburo, but their happiness is threatened by their own lingering guilt, the growing suspicions of the villagers, and the continuing presence of Gisaburo's ghost.
Theatrical Release |
- The English version of the film was supervised by Frances Head.
- Production coordination by Shibata Organization Inc.
- Additional cast: Sumie Sasaki (Odame), Eizo Kitamura (Grocer), Masami Hasegawa (Oshin), Kenzo Kawarazaki (Young Master), and Takaaki Sugiura (Denzo).
- Additional crew: Shigeru Wakatsuki (Production manager), Kenichi Okamoto (Lighting), Tetsuo Yatsuda and Alex Pront (Sound recordists).
- Filmed on location in Japan. All post-production work done in France.
- Shot in Eastmancolor.
- Rated BBFC X by the British Board of Film Censors.
- Also known as "L' Empire de la Passion."