Nagisa Oshima, the great Japanese purveyor-explorer of obsessive eroticism and dead serious ram-rutting, has died of pneumonia at age 80. His landmark film is/was In The Realm of the Senses (’76), which dove into the churning rapids of of fierce, desperate, no-holds-barred, lose-your-mind-and-irritate-the-neighbors sex and purer-than-pure, slit-my-throat love, was shot with unsimulated sex scenes, and was pretty much the erotic date movie of the ’70s, above Last Tango in Paris even.

And then there was Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (’83), a WWII prison-camp movie about a Japanese officer (Ryuichi Sakamoto) falling madly in love with Major Jack Celliers (David Bowie), a British POW. And Empire of Passion (’78), a kind of Realm of the Senses sequel (from a marketing standpoint, I mean) which I saw once. I recall it being a kind of Postman Always Rings Twice but with the ghost of the murdered husband messing things up for the lovers.

Oshima made 20 films from 1959 to ’70 — quite an output. Between ’70 and ’83 he made five. After Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence he made two — Max, Mon Amour and Taboo — and that was all she wrote. Respect the man. From the early ’70s to the early ’80s he held mountains in the palm of his hands.