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Tetsuo (1988) - Shinya Tsukamoto

Related: 1988 - cult films - Japanese cinema - violent films

Tetsuo: The Ironman (1988) - Shinya Tsukamoto [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


Tetsuo: The Iron Man is a 1988 Japanese film by cult-film director Shinya Tsukamoto. This, his third film, is an extremely graphic but also strikingly-filmed fantasy shot in the same low-budget, underground-production style as his first two films. Tetsuo established Tsukamoto internationally and created his worldwide cult. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetsuo:_The_Iron_Man [Jul 2006]

Tom Mes review

First sentence: At the end of the 80s, when mainstream Japanese cinema was dead in the water and the decade's one original filmmaker, Sogo Ishii, was going through a creative crisis, along came a grainy, black & white 16 mm film that wiped the floor with anything made in Japan for several years.

Tom Mes adds that "David Lynch's Eraserhead has often been mentioned as an influence because of its similar brooding, black and white images" . [...] and that "The influences don't stop there. The design of the iron man combines elements from the work of artist H.R. Giger, Jan Svankmayer as well as Japan's own kaiju films" and that in a sense "Tsukamoto has much in common with David Cronenberg"-- Tom Mes, Midnighteye, http://www.midnighteye.com/reviews/tetsuoim.shtml [Apr 2004]

Shinya Tsukamoto

Shinya Tsukamoto (Tsukamoto Shinya) is a Japanese film director and actor with a considerable cult following both inside and outside that country.

Tsukamoto has been compared to David Lynch for his wild, sf-inflected imagination, his sense of the grotesque and absurd, and also for his striking images. Many of his movies also revolve around a common theme: two men in competition for a woman. His third film Tetsuo: The Ironman, made in 1988 and shot in the same low-budget, underground-production style as his previous films, established him internationally and created his worldwide cult. This extremely graphic but also strikingly-filmed fantasy opens with a man (called only "the man", or sometimes the "Metals Fetishist") tearing open a massive gash in his leg and shoving in a piece of scrap metal. Upon seeing maggots festering in the wound, he screams, runs out into the street, and is hit by a car. The driver of the car (cult actor Taguchi Tomoroh) tries to cover up the mess by dumping the body into a ravine, but the dead man comes back to haunt him -- by forcing his body to gradually metamorphose into a walking pile of scrap metal. In one of the film's most controversial sequences, the man discovers his penis has mutated into a gargantuan power drill, and winds up murdering his girlfriend with it. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinya_Tsukamoto [Mar 2005]

Amazon review

  • Tetsuo: The Ironman (1988) - Shinya Tsukamoto [Amazon.com]
    Shinya Tsukamoto draws on the marriage of flesh and technology that inspires so much of David Cronenberg's work and then twists it into a manga-influenced cyberpunk vision. A man (Tomoroh Taguchi) awakens from a nightmare in which his body is helplessly fusing with the metal objects around him, only to find it happening to him in real life... or is it? Haunted by memories of a hit and run (eerily prophetic of Cronenberg's Crash), the man knows this ordeal could be a dream, a fantastic form of divine retribution, or perhaps technological mutation born of guilt and rage. Shot in bracing black and white on a small budget, Tsukamoto puts a demented conceptual twist on good old-fashioned stop-motion effects and simple wire work, giving his film the surreal quality of a waking dream with a psychosexual edge (resulting in the film's most disturbing scene). The story ultimately takes on an abstract quality enhanced by the grungy look and increasingly wild images as they take to the streets in a mad chase of technological speed demons. This first entry in his self-titled "Regular Sized Monster Series" is followed by a full-color sequel, Tetsuo II: The Body Hammer, which trades the muddy experimental atmosphere for a big-budget sheen but can't top the cybershock to the system this movie packs. --Sean Axmaker

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