Monday, 24 March 2008

AI NO CORRIDA, march 20


Nagisa Oshima

This is a film based on a true story of fatal sexual obsession in
1930s Japan.The film is an exploration of how eroticism in Japanese
culture is often morbid or death-obsessed.

The Japanese title of the film speaks neither of empires nor senses.
It speaks of love and death, Eros and Thanatos. Ai no corrida - the
Corrida of Love - links love to the bullfight, the ritualised fight
to the death between the matador and the bull.

The film's full frontal nudity and graphic depiction of pubic hair
were designed to provoke and affront the Japanese censors. Japanese
censorship laws, which allowed graphic representations of violence,
including rape, forbad the explicit display of sexual organs and
pubic hair. This taboo originated in the Meiji era and was connected
to the campaign of the Japanese state to be accepted by the Western
powers as a modern civilized state. Prior to the Meiji Restoration, the
pornography industry flourished both in literature and art.So Japanese
social critics, artists and intellectuals, regarded flouting the censorship
laws as an attack on the state, a radical political act.

In general the film does celebrate the pleasures and varieties of sexual
intercourse. It does so by drawing on the artistic heritage of the
pornographic Japanese wood-block print of the Edo era (17th - 19th
century), known as shunga.

illustration: Shreyas

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