A magnificent and hypnotically beautiful gay samurai film from the director of "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" and "In the Realm of the Senses." The year is 1865 - the location is Kyoto, Japan - and the scene is a samurai training school where new recruits are being tested with their fencing skills. These samurai warriors are to keep peace in a Kyoto which is being sorely tested by revolutionaries against the Shogunate. The Shinsen-gumi is run by strict rules which hang over the fencing room where the transfixingly sensuous, champion fencer Kano Sozaburo is matched with Tashiro, a low-ranking samurai. The whole room is entranced by his beauty which could only be described as feminine. As time goes on the men realize that Kano has homosexual tendencies and lieutenant Toshizo Hijikata is convinced that Kano and Tashiro are having an affair. In truth Kano has resisted Tashiro's charms but the sexual tension between the two men is palpable throughout the film. Kano actually does have an affair with Tojiro Yuzawa whose murder throws the samurai warriors into crises mode. The leaders try to get Kano to have sex with a geisha, but the attempt fails. A series of incidents ensue that lead to a major crises with the military unit. While one doesn't need knowledge of the samurai and their rigid code to understand "Taboo" a little background won't hurt. This stunning film is punctuated by brilliant swordsmanship, exquisite music, extraordinary locations and many period details. "Taboo" is the first gay samurai film that has emerged from Japan and what an amazing first this is! (Japanese with English subtitles)
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