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The first feature directed in 13 years by the legendary Nagisa Oshima (In the Realm of the Senses) is a gorgeously photographed and curious film that might be classified as a historical drama, a romantic melodrama, or a subtle sexual comedy, but its overall tone ultimately defies categorization. It takes place in Kyoto in 1865, during the sunset of the traditional samurai era. The arrival of an androgynous, too-beautiful young recruit (Ryuhei Matsuda) sends several of his fellow samurai into fits of passion that prove to be divisive and destructive. Takeshi "Beat" Kitano shines as a senior instructor trying to keep things in check. Japanese with English subtitles.

Nagisa Oshima---Japan---1999---100 mins.