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A Snake of June

3.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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(Feb 22, 2005)
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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.

Special Features

  • Behind the Scenes and Interviews
  • Tartain Asia Extreme New Releases

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:
  • Studio: Tartan Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 22, 2005
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00070Q8KO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,653 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Snake of June" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
alot of people have expressed dissatisfaction for this film, i feel maybe its because the people compare this to his other works a little too rash, but maybe not. shinya tsukamoto is one of of my top favorite directors & i found this film to be quite a pleasureable film experience (though often throughout the film you cant tell whether the characters pleasure or disquietude; i think thats what i enjoyed the most). the cinematography is bliss; a grand blue tinted b/w & plenty of rain to fit the mood. i enjoyed the three central characters as well, finding tsukamoto's character, iguchi, to be my favorite. perhaps because he is the most complex character throughout the film. sure, his "personal & devestating" secret is revealed towards the film's conclusion, but even that aside, you never really pick up upon what is really driving his behavior and actions towards tatsumi. a logical person would maybe identify a sense of sadomasochism, but i like to think deeper than that, almost as if through this "sadism" he is freeing her from a life she thinks she wants, but in her heart, knows she doesnt.

i think maybe viewers were approaching this one more logically because it was less abstract than, say the tetsuo films, or even vital. it focused more on what could be a realistic situation and often a cliche in mystery films(the married couple who's life is shattered by a voyeaur's constant prowl/spy)which did not end like a cliche mystery would, but then again, tsukamoto never really presents this film as a mystery, to me it seems more like a symblism used through urban lore about someone who has lost hope in himself and attempted to, in his own point of view, try and restore hope to the person who helped him find his again, or so it may seem...
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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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