Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992)

Review first published by EyeforFilm Less a sequel than an alternative reimagining of Tsukamoto Shinya‘s punkishly provocative Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) – which, after all, ended with the imminent destruction of Tokyo – Tetsuo II: Body Hammer gives a completely different interrelationship and back story to its chief antagonists (still played by Taguchi Tomorowo and Tsukamoto),…

Tetsuo

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

Tetsuo: The Iron Man first published by EyeforFilm If punk was the stripped-down, DIY expression of countercultural attitudes, and if cyberpunk explored the relation between individual and technology in a dystopian future, then Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo falls somewhere between the two. For its down-and-dirty, fast-and-furious aesthetic – and Chu Ishikawa’s pounding score – are ripped as…

Gore

Tokyo Gore Police (2008)

Tokyo Gore Police (Tôkyô zankoku keisatsu) first published by Little White Lies As Hollywood still picks over the bloody remains of the J-horror movement that flourished at the turn of the twenty-first century, Japan has moved on to a new brand of horror which might, for want of a better term, be called ‘splattercore’.  Key…

Japan

Ten of the Best Films From Japan

Ten of the Best Films From Japan first published by Scene 360 So rich has been the history and variety of films from the Land of the Rising Sun that narrowing down a selection of the best – or even of favourites – is practically impossible. Here, then, is something a little more provisional: an…

Lowlife

Lowlife Love (2016)

Lowlife Love first published by Little White Lies, as part 20 of my Cinema Psychotronicum column Tetsuo (Kiyohiko Shibukawa) wakes up beside a would-be starlet, vainly attempts to have sex with her again, and then, after she leaves, proceeds to masturbate to the CV that she has left with him. In Lowlife Love (Gesu no ai, 2016),…

Kotoko (2011)

First published by EyeforFilm “Hang tough, Japan!” exhorts the man on the television set. It is a subtle acknowledgement that production on Tsukamoto Shinya’s Kotoko took place in the shadow of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake – for here, as in Himizu (2011), an isolated individual’s psychodrama unfolds against the backdrop of an entire nation in catastrophic ruins,…

Vital (2004)

Review first published by EyeforFilm Thanks to his use of dream-like narratives and body horror, outsider auteur Tsukamoto Shinya is often regarded as Japan’s answer to David Lynch or David Cronenberg, but in fact his many films (Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Tokyo Fist, Bullet Ballet, Gemini, A Snake Of June), for all their variety of genres, are nourished by a collection of…

A Snake of June (2002)

Review first published by Movie Gazette Strait-laced Rinko (Kurasawa Asuka) and her cleanliness-obsessed husband Shigehiko (Koutari Yuji) eat at different times, barely communicate, and sleep in separate rooms. One rainy morning in June, Rinko receives a package with an envelope marked ‘Your husband’s secrets’, containing photographs of herself masturbating. Other photographs follow, also showing her secretly engaged…

Tsukamoto Shinya on THE HORROR SHOW . TV

Japanese me(n)tal-maestro of schizophrenic narratives and urban mindscapes Tsukamoto Shinya has long been one of my favourite directors. Now some of his transgressive oddities are available to be viewed on The Horror Show, including Testuo: The Iron Man (1989), Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992), Tokyo Fist (1995) and Kotoko (2011). Here is a VODcast about…

Tokyo Fist (1995)

Third Window Films have just remastered and rereleased this Tsukamoto Shinya classic, a clear precursor to David Fincher’s Fight Club, on Blu-ray; so here is my old review for Movie Gazette Japanese auteur Tsukamoto Shinya has a consistency of vision that borders on fixation, ensuring that any of his films are instantly recognisable as his own…

Once Upon A Time In Japan

Still travelling the UK now (see here for details), the Japan Foundation’s 2013 touring programme (Once Upon A Time In Japan) is focused on recent films that examine contemporary Japan through the prism of the past, whether personal or public. I have written a round-up of the festival for Film4.com, but am posting a fuller…