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.
New video essay by film historian and critic Catherine Russell
New interview with actors Kazuo Yoshiyuki and Tatsuya Fuji
An interview program from 2003 featuring production consultant Koji Wakamatsu and assistant directors Yusuke Narita and Yoici Sai