There have been very few films that blindsided me the way that Tetsuo: The Iron Man (Tsukamoto, 1989) did. I was just beginning to grasp how much there was out there to explore that fell outside the realm of multiplexes and the mainstream. Then this desperate missive from the fringes of Tokyo showed up on my doorstep. I don’t know that I was entirely ready for it. It’s hard to remember now. It was the first truly experimental film I had encountered in my life and it astounded and confounded me. I do know that it made me curious to find more and more like it. Following that impulse and digging into the nether reaches of cinema has proven to be incredibly satisfying to me. Whether it be surrealism or cyberpunk or collage, I love it.
And I may love Tetsuo: The Iron Man the most. This was my way in. They say you never forget your first time. Some people prefer to get in the pool a little at a time and get acclimated. That is not my preference, which is why this movie was perfect. Get in and let’s go! Give me every weird thing Tokyo has in store and then some, and give it to me at maximum volume. Do you feel this way, too? Then you have found one of your new favorites, as well. I hope everyone gives this one a try, at the very least. It’s like a bullet train to insanity and I adore it.
What you’ll find in this episode: the real Tokyo versus the vividly imagined, body horror, cyberpunk, industrial music and Japan by way of Chicago, insertion, submission, experimentation, and assimilation.
Links and Recommendations:
Check out Tetsuo: The Iron Man on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing of pick of Dead Ringers.
Cole’s further viewing pick of 964 Pinocchio.
An excellent interview with Shinya Tsukamoto from Film Comment.
New to cyberpunk? Here’s a great reading list to help you navigate the future.