Austin Film Society presents Forbidden Colors: The Transgressions of Nagisha Ôshima

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In The Realm Of The Senses
Scene from In the Realm of the Senses Photo courtesy of Austin Film Society

Nagisa Ôshima (1932-2013) brought themes of political and sexual radicalism to the screen with cinematic techniques that were themselves radical. Inspired by the deconstructive experiments of the French New Wave, Oshima created a cinema that epitomized the boundary-pushing zeitgeist of young Japan.

His most famous film, In The Realm Of The Senses, is the most controversial work of Japanese cinema, having been variously censored and banned upon initial release due to its uncompromising sexual imagery. His other works, while less explicit, are no less challenging and transgressive.


  • March 30: Cruel Story of Youth - Nagisa Ôshima’s early feature shows us the youth of post-war Japan, shocking in their moral decay, through a French New Wave influenced lens.
  • April 1: The Ceremony - Nagisa Ôshima’s bitter indictment of the traditions that imprison successive generations of Japanese youth centers on a most unusual wedding.
  • April 6 and 8: In the Realm of the Senses - This extraordinary tale of sexual obsession, based on true events, has been banned in director Nagisa Ôshima’s home country of Japan for decades due to its extremely explicit scenes of lovemaking and violence.
  • April 13 and 15 (2 pm): Empire of Passion - Nagisa Ôshima’s follow-up to the highly controversialIn The Realm Of The Senses also explores themes of erotic obsession. Oshima was awarded the Best Director Prize at Cannes for it.
  • April 15 (7:30 pm): Night and Fog in Japan - Nagisa Ôshima puts an earlier generation of Japanese social radicals under the magnifying glass (and singes them somewhat in the process) in this stylized and influential film that tells a tragic story spanning two eras.
  • April 20 and 22: Merry Christmas Mister Lawrence - In this narrative departure from Ôshima’s earlier works he tells the story of four men in a Japanese POW camp during World War II. David Bowie stars as a recalcitrant prisoner whose experiences in the camp trigger memories of earlier guilt.

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AFS Cinema
6406 N. I-35 Frontage Rd. Suite 3100
Austin, TX 78752


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