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Old 04-16-2016   #1
Robert Adam Gilmour
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Shinya Tsukamoto is one of the finest living directors

Tsukamoto is probably my favourite director (also an excellent actor, appearing in most of his own films and lots of other people's films). I don't think there is another director I've enjoyed so consistently. Since I discovered him I've been frustrated how his work is clearly ready for the sort of cult Cronenberg, Lynch, Miike and Park Chan Wook have but never got it for himself. A lot of people have seen the first Tetsuo but I don't know why they stop there.

According to Tom Mes in his Tsukamoto book, the success of Tetsuo enabled the global audience of extreme Asian films since then (which has unfortunately faded away in recent times). Mes talks a lot about how Tsukamoto's films are about people who live a really sterile life in a sterile urban environment and cant imagine anything different until their life is violently disrupted and sometimes changed for the better. I'm not really sure how many fit that description but there's usually something to do with those themes.

Tokyo Fist was my first and it's still my favourite. It was precisely the sort of dark and intense film I wanted at the time. I wish there was another 100 films with the same feel as this but it's really special. Gorgeous soundtrack too.

You need to see it if you haven't already.

The first Tetsuo is amazing, the second is far too long but has some incredible moments, the third is a bit awkward (his first English language film) but looks and sounds great most of the time.

Vital was the beginning of a new phase. Still morbid and odd but with a serene beauty that the earlier films didn't have so much. Kotoko has a similar feel, but even more disturbing (a mother suffering paranoid delusions about her child being hurt).

Haze seems to be relatively neglected (probably because it's 49 minutes). It's like a claustrophobic nightmare most people have had but you never really see in story form.

Gemini is a gorgeous adaptation of Edogawa Rampo. One of the best looking films I've ever seen, with two really striking scenes of this amazingly dressed homeless man doing bizarre dances.

A Snake Of June is kind of a subtle erotic film with no sex and lots of symbolist imagery.

Bullet Ballet is about generation gaps in Japan.

Hiruko The Goblin is a horror comedy and totally unlike anything else he's done. The ending is pretty eye popping.

Nightmare Detective is the only one I don't really have much fondness for but it does have a really good monster in it.

I haven't been able to get a hold of Nightmare Detective 2, or his own version of Fires On The Plain (previously a classic book and film) or most of the short films or anthology segments .
Fires On The Plain is his newest (from 2014) and it still hasn't had a home release and I doubt it's on many streaming services.

I was quite happy to learn he's in the cast for Martin Scorsese's Silence (this was also previously a classic book and film). Scorsese also seemed enthusiastic about Tsukamoto's films.

If you haven't seen Tokyo Fist, Tetsuo, Vital, Kotoko and Gemini, I'd urge you to do so. And if you like them, you'll probably like most of the rest.

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Old 04-17-2016   #2
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Re: Shinya Tsukamoto is one of the finest living directors

nil

Last edited by symbolique; 09-06-2017 at 01:53 AM.. Reason: shortened quotes
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Old 04-17-2016   #3
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Re: Shinya Tsukamoto is one of the finest living directors

Should have also mentioned Chu Ishikawa, who does the soundtracks for most of his films. The music is pretty much always great.

The soundtrack was the main area where Tetsuo: Bullet Man hit a home run. Get a load of this.
Nine Inch Nails also did a track for it but I cant recall if it's in the actual film.

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Old 04-17-2016   #4
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Re: Shinya Tsukamoto is one of the finest living directors

I watched Tetsuo ages ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I haven't followed up on his other work. I plan on rectifying that. I appreciate the recommendation.
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Old 03-17-2017   #5
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Re: Shinya Tsukamoto is one of the finest living directors

Fires On The Plain finally getting a disc release in November.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
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Re: Shinya Tsukamoto is one of the finest living directors

Finally watched Fires On The Plain, the disc release was moved earlier. It's good, he makes a lot of a small budget, it contains a particularly impressive landscape shot.

I normally don't bother with "making of" documentaries but this extra was very good. He's been trying to make this film for 20 years, he had lots of different ideas about how it might be (he toyed with making it an animated film), he wanted a much bigger film with a megastar.
There's footage of him going on a trip to collect the bones of Japanese soldiers. He wants the film to be a part of helping Japanese soldiers to speak about their experiences before they're all gone.

He says it's kind of a spiritual sequel to Bullet Ballet, uses some of the same cast. Expands on things he'd previously said about the young Japanese knowing far too little about war.

Imdb says he's making a samurai film right now. I can't wait.

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