In the realm of the senses

One of the most controversial Japanese films ever made and banned in multiple countries upon release, In the Realm of the Senses is an erotic psych-drama about the increasingly heated affair between a maid and the owner of a hotel. Although often dismissed as a film dependent on graphic sex as a gimmick, what lies underneath is an intense story of love and madness that is powerful in it’s own right. Director Nagisa Oshima is the rare shock director with brains, skill, and passion to spare.

Brad has an interesting taste in art. Art. I was going to say art.

The two leads, Eiko Matsuda, as Sade the maid and Tatsuya Fuji as Ishida the hotel owner, are seriously strong and carry the film effortlessly. Sade is a volatile and totally maniacal character. She appears somewhat tragic at first, but her behavior becomes so erratic that you worry about what she could do next. Just when you think Sade reached peak craziness, she keeps escalating ever so further until the unforgettable finale has been reached. Matsuda gives a genuinely frightening performance

Ishida on the other hand is laidback, passive, and has no clue what he’s in for. He’s a lackadaisical type of guy who thinks that he can’t believe his own luck. Ishida always thinks he’s in charge until he comes to the disturbing realization that he really isn’t. And by then it’s too late. Fuji makes Ishida a likable bastard. He does a lot of awful things, including raping an elderly servant to death, but the guy carries himself with such a charm, that you begrudgingly side with him, even when he’s in the wrong.

The naked man is very kind in giving back-rubs, no doubt. Not sure why he had to be naked though.

The appeal is on the ever changing power play dynamic of their relationship. The entirety of their relationship is based around nonstop sexuality. Seriously, almost every other scene in the film is them banging. But what keeps this from being gimmicky, is how their actual relationship changes with each scene. One gets more emotionally involved. Then the other gets less emotionally involved. He gets more needy and she starts becoming more withdrawn. Then vice versa. People get involved. Some get pushed away. Jealousy creeps in. Then inevitable betrayal. And it only goes upwards from there. It’s one of the most fascinatingly destructive relationships in a film. With the whole deal being a middle aged guy finding a 20 something year old honey and getting more than he bargained for, this film feels like a primordial version of Audition. Only a version that is infinitely more graphic.

Graphic is a serious key word for this film. All of the sex is unsimulated, frequent, and skimps on no detail. Oshima created this film to shatter Japanese censors at the time, and any film where you can clearly detect “chafing” on the lead actor has most certainly done that. There is also some pretty serious S&M action that goes places that even jaded audiences would be surprised with. All of it is totally in your face and to such an extent that it manages to leave an otherwise well put together film in limbo. Realm is way too gynecological (and urological) for the viewers able to appreciate the quality of the film) and it’s too talky for the rain coat wearing crowd.

When you try to hard to impress your lover.

The finale of the film features something that will make all men in the audience squirm in their seats. It is so damn painful and realistic looking. Props to whoever had to research that, because it’s one of the all time most brutal looking when it comes to this particular act being in a film. Even Cannibal Holocaust couldn’t keep up with this film, and the Italians were notorious gorehounds.

If you are down for one aggressive, mind bending, occasionally terrifying erotic drama that is more likely to scare the crap out of eager dudes in the audience rather than arouse them, then this is your film. Japan has had tons of screwed up films over the years, and In the Realm of the Senses might be one of the roughest of the lot.

4 out of 5 golden cameras.




Originally banned in it’s native country of Poland for upsetting the Catholic Church with it’s wanton violence and sexuality, Diabel is a bombastic surreal horror film with seemingly limitless energy, style, and audacity. Diabel could very well be one of the most spectacular and powerful European horror films to end up this under the radar.

With help of Brad, we enter a strange new experience.


It is about Jacob, a nobleman executed for a treasonous plot who is given a second chance at life when he makes a bargain with Satan. Little does he know that the bargain involves him being compelled to murder nearly everyone who he comes across. Can Jacob get out of his deal with Satan while trying to save his lady love from marrying his sworn enemy, figure out who killed his father, reuniting with his mother, and avoid getting killed for a second time in a country caught amidst full scale war?

Brads look when Robin has to re-edit his review and thin it out a bit.

Like most of Zulawski’s films, Diabel makes for a visually excellent film. Cinematography is marked with a heavy blue and grey look, as if the movie was filmed underwater. Shadows and natural lighting are used extensively to create a world of mystery and intrigue. The camera sweeps and glides in a manner so effortlessly that it’s hard to believe that it was done before Steadicam was invented. Even the sets are extraordinary. Most likely using abandoned castles and mansions, the scenery is massive and gothic. Through sprucing up worn out structures, Zulawski has created an authentic 18th century environment that looks truly impressive. We get a truly extravagant looking film that resembles what silent film era expressionism and horror would look like when crossed with 70s era psychdelica.

The score of the film consists of loud, thumping guitar licks. Aiming less for period accurate music and leaning towards a Jimi Hendrix Experience meets Goblin sound. The editing of the visuals to the music is handled so well that I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t improvised as it was taking place.
As anyone who has seen the director’s later work (Possession) would tell you, the acting is completely bonkers. Almost every scene is a cacophony of hysterical screaming that viewers will end up loving or hating. Zulawski captures unrestrained madness and insanity like few other directors are able to. The film is able to balance itself somewhat with quiet scenes of mourning and tragedy, but it’s mostly giving the audience preparing for the next bout of rabid behavior.

Brad wants to sue FilmFett and accidently hires a nun.

The characters remain strong, with just about everyone holding their weight of the story. Jacob is a fascinating protagonist, as he goes from an honest man looking for answers to an insatiable serial killer almost every other minute.You will spend the entire film fearing for his life or cheering for his demise.The other central character is an unnamed pale man in a dark cloak who we are to assume is meant to be Satan. He gives Jacob back his life, but he also demands a steady body count in return.

There is also Jacob’s fiancée who has left him for a former friend that has become a wealthy aristocrat. It’s treated like a betrayal, even though it only occurred because Jacob died. Things get worse when Jacob’s fiancée sends mixed signals to both men and the wealthy friend starts a manhunt to end Jacob’s killing. These moments don’t really add much to the story aside from heightening the already decadent atmosphere.

Diabel is an exhilarating high concept slasher film about the mania of a populace when a country is on the brink of annihilation. It is one of the great underseen horror offerings of it’s time.




New Opinions on Lethal Weapon

So...I've decided to write in english again....why not?
A long time ago I reviewed the Lethal Weapon series. And for some reason I had a hard time seeing the charm in the first film. It was neat, but the sequel is far better. And even if I still agree on that I'd like to give my new insight here on FilmFett.
The story is pretty plain and simple. Like your avarage 80's flick. But the excecution is at best in the darkest moments. The characters are pretty fucking bleak once you think about it. Look at Riggs, a suicidal maniac spinning out of control and who nobody want to work with. Someone who sees himself as useless outside of his own job. And the older cop who starts to wonder if he still got "it" in him. Everyone can relate to these things!
I've always liked the dark drama in this film, but the action is pretty lackluster. All the sudden we have a final fight and it's not that great. The enemy is pretty bad and I don't feel the joy when he bites the dust. But if you read between the lines you end up liking the main characters, who are the focus of the film.
Those are my new opinions on Lethal Weapon. A film that has grown a bit more on me. But the sequel is the best option!