DVD review: Tetsuo I & II and Kotoko

editorial image

Three works by one of Japan’s most extreme directors arrive in BlU-RAY form, providing plenty of controversy.

Shinya Tsukamoto is not the kind of man to hold back on horror and effects.



Tetsuo: The Iron Man first appeared in 1989 to a fair amount of shock and awe.

The gritty black and white camera work provide the right canvas on which Tsukamoto weaves his tale of a metal fetishist.

This strange person feels the need to insert scrap metal into his body.

A bizarre enough concept but when he is knocked down in a car accident he somehow inhabits the driver and turns him into a metal contraption from within.

The use of a fierce soundtrack and occasional fast frame segments all add up to 67 minutes of mayhem.

The film is accompanied by Tetsuo II: Body Hammer which is a similar story but, released in 1992 and 83 minutes long, involves a colourful story of a word populated by man-machines.

Tsukamoto doesn’t believe in serving up Hollywood style movies and has been placed in the same niche as David Cronenberg, although the Japanese director is even more left field.

The BlU-RAY comes with a DVD including an interview with Tsukamoto which is pretty much vital viewing to understand the thought processes behind the movies.

The interview that accompanies Tsukamoto’s more recent film Kotoko on BLU-RAY is equally important.

This crystal clear and vibrant movie deals with a real-life horror for a young woman - coping with her own mental problems.

Kotoko, played by folk singer Cocco, is a single mother with a baby son.

She suffers from a strange affliction that on occasions makes her see double, especially people which causes all sorts of problems.

When her son is finally taken away she is left on her own within a damaged mental lifestyle.

Few punches are pulled and the movie’s content becomes more disturbing as the director reveals in the extras that aspects of the work was based on Cocco’s own early troubled life.

The strength of acting makes some of the scenes quite harrowing.

Tsukamoto has finished his trilogy of Tetsuo films and not surprisingly teamed up again with Cocco, the two proving quite a successful partnership.

More details of these and other world cinema movies from http://thirdwindowfilms.com/

Steve Payne