Tetsuo: the iron man * Shinya Tsukamoto * 1988

A film like this can only come from Japan! It is a lot older than I expected when I rented it, but who cares? There are two Tetsuo’s, the “companion piece” is called “Tetsuo II: body hammer” and unlike this first part, it seems to be in colour. “Tetsuo I” opens brilliantly with a black and white complete over-the-top cutting in a style that holds the middle somewhere between David Lynch’s “Eraserhead” and the nightmarish visions in “Pi”. “Tetsuo” tells the ‘story’ of a man who slowly turns into metal (a bloody process!), or does he? “Man” has disturbing visions of metal women tracing him through a nihilistic world of machines and dark scenes. All this is supported by industrial music and makes a great atmosphere. As the short film (only 1 hour) continues, the style reminds ‘hyper’ (extremely fast changing images, apparently photoshoots put on a filmtape), the story and images become more and more bizarre, but the surprise is gone. A fucked-up and sick mix of splatter horror, hallucinating darkness and cut-up story lines. Indeed something “like you’ve never seen before.”
What always irritates me in Japanese films is the terrible synchronising by the way. People screeming with their mouths shut and totally overdone sounds. This is quite terrible in this film.

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