Journal Article

Deathly Passion: Oshima's <i>In the Realm of the Senses</i> and the Transgressive Character of Sexuality and Religion

Stefanie Knauss

in Literature and Theology

Volume 23, issue 3, pages 332-343
Published in print September 2009 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online July 2009 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frp039
Deathly Passion: Oshima's In the Realm of the Senses and the Transgressive Character of Sexuality and Religion

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Oshima's film In the Realm of the Senses is an early example of what today is called ‘artcore’: films that employ the transgressivity of the representation of sexuality in order to discuss its meaning for human existence. This transgressiveness is intensified by the connection between sex and death that the film establishes. This article understands transgressivity as a positive value, arguing that the analogy between sexual and religious experiences is reinforced by the film's uncovering of the irresolvable ambivalence of sexuality. The analysis of the representation of a transgressive sexual relationship upon the background of Georges Bataille's reflections on sex, death and the sacred, shows how the film achieves a broader perspective on the meaning and role of sexuality in human life, and how precisely in sexuality's transgressiveness and ambivalence the sacred is evoked.

Journal Article.  5587 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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