Rokugatsu no hebi
Cult Japanese filmmaker Shinya Tsukamoto has time and again proven himself to be the perfect embodiment of what is traditionally understood as an auteur. From the moment he exploded in a shower of twisted metal onto the international scene with his dystopian tale of bodily transformation Tetsuo (1989), he has written, directed, produced, and designed a raft of uniquely distinctive and unusual feature films. In the years since the hyper-stylised avant-garde formalism of Tetsuo, Tsukamoto’s visual experimentalism has mellowed somewhat. But films such as Hiruko the Goblin (1991), Tokyo Fist (1995), Bullet Ballet (1998) and Vital (2004) continue to document his fascination with the human body. Whether it be in states of decay or in revolt. The revolution of the human body in the face of a decaying urbanisation is a persistent theme of his work. In his films technology and capitalism are rendered banal and are often the initial cause for an evolution of the flesh. Tsukamoto’s vision is at times a unique one, but it is couched within stylistic and thematic terms which evoke the industrialised dreamscapes of David Lynch, and the grotesque body horror of David Cronenberg. His own influence can be felt on filmmakers such as Darren Aronofsky, Takashi Miike and Jan Kounen. Tsukamoto is also fiercely independent and through his own production company Kaijyu Theatre commands complete autonomy and the freedom too express his innermost fantasies.
© Shaun Anderson 2011