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A Woman Called Abe Sada (1975)

September 18th, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

A Woman Called Abe Sada (1975)
Aka: Jitsuroku Abe Sada
Directed: TANAKA Noboru
Cast: MIYASHITA Junko, ESUMI Hideaki, HANAYAGI Genshu, KOIZUMI Ikunosuke, SAKAMOTO Nagatoshi
Genre: Drama, Erotic
Runtime: 78 min
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English (hardcoded)
Year: 1975

Inspired by the true-life tale of a broken woman whose hedonistic tryst with a high-class restaurateur resulted in a horrific crime of passion that littered Tokyo headlines in 1936, director Noboru Tanaka’s stark tale of passion has lost none of its power to shock since its original release in 1975. The daughter of a wealthy merchant, beautiful Sada Abe is banished from her wealthy father’s home when he discovers that her virginity was stolen from her in a brutal rape. Subsequently sustaining her existence as a prostitute, Sada soon makes the acquaintance of restaurateur Kichizo — who is immediately captivated by her mysterious beauty. As the couple eschews the outside world in favor of a secluded week of sexual bliss, pleasure soon gives way to obsession — setting into motion a dangerous sequence of events that can only end in tragedy.

Tanaka’s version of the Sada Abe story is inevitably compared with Nagisa Oshima’s internationally-known In the Realm of the Senses. The most obvious difference between the two is that Tanaka’s film, intended for a Japanese audience, could not indulge in the hardcore elements that Oshima’s version employed. As a result, Oshima’s film, when shown in Japan, was censored, while Tanaka’s version played as the director intended it. While Oshima limits his timeframe to the period of the final sexual encounter, Tanaka gives a more rounded portrayal of Abe’s life through flashbacks.

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