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The Human Extremes of Shinya Tsukamoto

MUBI Special

Japanese auteur Shinya Tsukamoto is an ingenious nonconformist, constantly reinventing an exhilarating and avant-garde style to move beyond the sci-fi vision of his cult classic, Tetsuo: The Iron Man. Producing, writing, shooting, editing, and occasionally starring in his own films, Tsukamoto is a savant of independent filmmaking, crafting visually inventive and sensory gems on his own terms. A Snake of June, winner of the Special Jury Prize at Venice, is an atmospheric masterpiece, telling its perverse story of unleashed sexual obsessions with gorgeous blue-toned, rain-drenched, monochrome cinematography. Vital, starring Tadanobu Asano (Thor: Ragnarok), is a morbid yet profound consideration of memory, amplified by a tense and visceral soundscape that includes the cutting of flesh and pencil scraping. Released successively in the early 2000s, both films see the director shifting from his nightmarish visions to turn a tender eye towards two transgressive tales of sensuality.

A Snake of June

Shin'ya Tsukamoto Japan, 2002

A maverick of transgressive cinema, multi-hyphenate auteur Shinya Tsukamoto’s cinema goes beyond the scrappy sci-fi of Tetsuo: The Iron Man. His fierce, enthrallingly raw approach to storytelling is equally evident in this lurid but empathetic story of a perverse triangle of desire and obsession.

Vital

Shin'ya Tsukamoto Japan, 2004

Inspired by medical sketches of dissections, Shinya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo) transforms the excesses of body horror into an imaginative story of the relationship between identity and the human body. Giving life to a sober subject, actor Tadanobu Asano tenderly embodies the disorientation of an amnesiac.

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