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A Snake of June (2003)

Mansaku Fuwa , Yuji Kohtari  |  R |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Mansaku Fuwa, Yuji Kohtari, Asuka Kurosawa, Tomoko Matsumoto (II), Tomorowo Taguchi
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Tartan Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 22, 2005
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00070Q8KO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #342,995 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Snake of June" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

From Japanese cult director Shinya Tsukamoto (TETSUO: THE IRON MAN) comes A SNAKE OF JUNE (ROKUGATSU NO HEBI). Tsukamoto continues exploring the themes he set up in TETSUO and other works--extreme alienation from both self and other, the changing relationship between man and machine, and the body as the site where these problems are worked through; themes that have often brought comparison to David Cronenberg. A SNAKE OF JUNE concerns Rinko, a woman working as a telephone counselor, who begins to receive a series of disturbing envelopes from a blackmailer. The mystery man's purpose is simple, to force Rinko into acting out the fantasies she is unable to fulfill at home with her obsessive-compulsive husband. Tsukamoto's film is shot with a style as experimental and unusual as his narrative, and was an award winner at the 2002 Venice Film Festival.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Snake of June Movie Review November 28, 2007
Just as twistedly brilliant as Tetsuo, though slightly less hyperkinetic, Tsukamoto's A Snake of June explores similar themes of repressed sexuality and contrasting worlds, but with a far more linear plotline. Though metallic phallus imagery and psychosexual encounters do make an appearance.

When suicide hotline counselor Rinko (Asuka Kurosawa) receives explicit photos of herself from a mysterious caller, she is thrown into a depraved game of hidden fantasies and unrestrained sexual desire. As the voyeuristic stalker becomes determined to alter her passionless life, Rinko's compulsively clean husband Shigehiko (Yuji Koutari) attempts to hunt him down and the three disillusioned soul's paths will inevitably intertwine.

Tsukamoto's visual style is unmistakably daring and A Snake of June is no exception. Bathed in blue to suggest the unrelenting presence of water, the images created are painstakingly crafted and unforgettably bizarre. Close-ups of snails, drains, and circular windows mix with frantic shots of action and nightmarishly surreal dreams pepper reality. Far more linear than some of Tsukamoto's previous efforts, there's still plenty of hallucinatory imagery to comprehend, most memorably the sex show dream sequence accenting the themes of voyeurism and the contrast of viewing the organic through circles. Frenetic editing and dizzying camerawork also strive to keep this thriller from ever slowing down, and even during extended single shots on a stationary subject, the camera refuses to stay put, heightening the sense of voyeurism and paranoia. Even in the chapter breaks Tsukamoto's maddeningly creative artistry is at work as curious symbols denote the passing of time and the gradual joining of figures.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Snake of June (Shinya Tsukamoto, 2002)

There are those, and they are legion, who find those of us who contend that the Japanese simply make better movies overall than the Americans these days are just some sort of film snobs with a fetish for foreignness. I would answer that those people should, as just one example of what I'm talking about, take A Snake of June and hold it up against any American sexual psychodrama of the past twenty years (and, come to think of it, the only one I can really find to compare it to is Jane Campion's woefully terrible In the Cut). The simple fact of the matter is that Americans, whether it be filmmakers themselves or the studios who distribute the films, simply aren't capable of coming up with stuff like this. It's just not in our nature or something.

The tale follows Iguchi (Shinya Tsukamoto), who begins as a suicidal photographer. He calls a suicide hotline and is talked out of killing himself by Rinko (Asuka Kurosawa). He grows obsessed with her and her husband Shigehiko (Yuji Kohtari) and begins stalking them, setting in motion events that will take all three on journeys of self-revelation.

That's a woefully incomplete synopsis, but little revelations (such as why Iguchi was suicidal in the first place, and how he makes his presence known to Rinko) pop up sporadically throughout the film that ripple into the greater revelations, and so pretty much everything in the film after the first ten minutes or so is a spoiler. All I can do is say "trust me, the plot's taken care of." And it's a fine plot, if a bit impressionist (this should be no surprise to those who are already familiar with Tsukamoto's work). The actors are very good at what they do, and all the other technical details are nicely done.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as strong as it should have been June 18, 2005
One of the great things about A Snake of June is the use of the blue lens/filter through which this black and white film was shot. As the cinematographer explains in one of the two excellent extra featurettes that come with the DVD, the blue was used to give the feeling of water. June is the rainy month in Japan and just like in the film Seven, it rains throughout the entire film.

The combination of the blue tint/tinge, the rain, and the growing eroticism should have resulted in a building of intensity, which did take place in Tsukamoto (the director)'s films Iron Man and Body Hammer. But the problem in A Snake of June is that once a certain degree of intensity is reached, there is not much more that can be done. So the film, while not floundering, does not really leave the viewer satisfied, so to speak, once about the midpoint has come and gone.

Even though Rinko, the female protagonist, does become sexier past that midpoint mark, the intensity that is piled on--among other things, using a surreal peep show that kind of bursts into view out of the blue (so to speak)--does not really add anything. In fact, the peep show and the appearance of an appendage that definitely recalls Iron Man seem much more forced and tacked on here than similar events do in either Iron Man or Body Hammer (the Iron Man sequel).

Tsukamoto himself has a leading role in this film; he's the stalker that galvanizes the action, the catalyst that transforms Rinko from a shy social worker into a walking object of pleasure. Her husband sleeps on a couch, typically, and this for a woman can be frustrating, just like it would for a man if his wife did the same thing.

It would have been a much better film if there had been a stronger emphasis on Rinko's psychology.
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