Rinku is a suicide-prevention counselor, living with her husband Shigehiko. He’s older than she, scrubbing things constantly, sexually indifferent. They sleep apart. During Tokyo’s rainy season, Iguchi, a photographer Rinku has counseled by phone, sends her pictures he has taken through her skylight: she’s wearing a short skirt, masturbating. He offers her the negatives if she’ll follow his instructions. She’s humiliated and agrees. He tells her he’s only giving her license to express her inner desires. He sends her into the night to walk on the wild side. Then, she asks a favor of him, and soon her husband receives phone calls and photographs. Where will this triangle lead? —IMDb
Constant comparisons to such distinctive celluloid experimentalists as David Cronenberg and David Lynch may give the uninitiated an idea of what to expect aesthetically and thematically from the works of renegade Japanese filmmaker/actor Shinya Tsukamoto, though as complimentary as they may be, the comparisons ultimately don’t do justice to the remarkably original and frantic essence of his hauntingly jarring cinematic nightmares. From the cringe-inducing, hyper-kinetic body horror of Tetsuo: The Iron Man to the creeping deliberation of Gemini, Tsukamoto’s intriguing body of work has isolated critics and audiences while building a strong fan base who share his technophobe paranoia and cyber-punk sensibility.
Born in Shibuya, Tokyo, in 1960, Tsukamoto found inspiration early in his childhood from the television series Ultra-Q. Making his directorial debut via Super-8 film around the age of 14, the future director later found creative outlet in painting and theater. Briefly putting… read more
While I enjoyed the two movies by Tsukamoto I have seen outside the Tetsuo films (Gemini and Nightmare Detective) I was disappointed by their lack of extremism and shocking content. A Snake of June, however, had everything I could possibly hope for. A lot of comparisons have been made between Tsukamoto and Lynch, but unlike the latter Tsukamoto never totally left behind the rough and tumble stylistics of his early movies, and that is very much apparent here. The story takes place during Japan's rainy season, and Rinku, a suicide hotline counselor married to a droll and boring older man begins receiving photographs in the mail picturing her in sexually explicit situations. Her stalker orders her to drop her panties, don a short skirt, and go for a walk in public so that she may free her true self. But then things take an unexpected turn. Through these blatantly illegal acts of voyeurism, sadism, blackmail, and sexual harassment, the characters begin to free themselves from their vacuous bourgeois lifestyles. And then halfway through the movie goes off the rails into something very, very, very bizarre. Here is a taste: it involves a sentient metal phallus. Tsukamoto is a daring artist unafraid to explore the disturbing, but his work never comes off as exploitative. Beneath all of the shocking content are concrete moral statements about the nature of our first world society. A powerful and uncompromising work.