Hiroshi Teshigahara’s debut feature and first collaboration with novelist Kobo Abe, Pitfall is many things: a mysterious, unsettling ghost story, a portrait of human alienation, and a compellingly surreal critique of soulless industry, shot in elegant black-and-white.
Great. Really reminded me of Beckett and Kafka in its exploration of human powerlessness and bureaucracy, especially with the political context in mind. Visually it's meticulously composed, and in a similar way as Antonioni (a contemporary), Teshigahara juxtaposes natural landscapes with man-made structures really well. Also, some great use of superimposition and swish pans to mix the surreal with the social realism.
To me it was very reminiscent of Herk Harvey's 'Carnival of Souls'. Similar juxtapositions of existence and non-existence, enigmatic omniscient presence haunting the protagonists, leading them to their demise. The experimentally thematic use of sound..
..had the same mesmerizing effect in both films, made worlds apart, in the same year, exploring similar themes in a similar fashion. It's quite amazing.