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1,061 Ratings

Empire of Passion

Ai no borei

Directed by Nagisa Ôshima
Japan, France, 1978
Drama, Horror, Romance
  • Japanese
  • Dutch, English, French, Italian, Romanian, Spanish, Turkish


Set in a Japanese village at the end of the nineteenth century, the film details the downfall of a married woman and her lover after they murder her husband and dump his body in a well. With eroticism and horror, Oshima plunges the viewer into a nightmarish tale of guilt and retribution.

Our take

Somewhat tamer than his previous film In the Realm of the Senses, Nagisa Oshima’s substantially darker turn-of-the-century drama is a ghost story, recounting a love affair, a crime of passion, and ultimately, the slow breakdown destruction of a relationship.

Empire of Passion Directed by Nagisa Ôshima

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

1978 | Winner: Best Director

Awards of the Japanese Academy

1979 | Winner: Best Music Score

1979 | 7 nominations including: Best Film

What are people saying?

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