IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES (BFI Film Classics), by Joan Mellen. London: British Film Institute, 2004, 88 pp., with photographs. £8.99 (paper).

Nagisa Oshima's 1976 film, "In the Realm of the Senses (Ai no Korida)," is not only one of his most famous (or infamous) works but also one of his finest. Joan Mellen, in her excellent new monograph, has called it "the most brilliant dystopic vision ever to appear on film." The quarter-century that has since elapsed has done nothing to dim this dazzling confrontation.

Sexual and political liberation are linked, and opposed, to a society destructive of these aims. The liberated lovers may fail (Oshima called his film a "reverse utopia"), but even though such freedom cannot be sustained in a politically corrosive social order, they still challenge society's hegemony.