Thursday, January 01, 2009

Pitfall/Otoshiana (Japan: Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1962)

Pitfall/Otoshiana (Japan: Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1962: 97 mins) 4 stars

Criterion Collection. Stylish existential horror story based on a Kobo Abe play. Effectively blends documentary style realism with surreal fantasy. The film's makers trust the audience to figure it out for themselves and the powerful symbolism can lead the viewer in many directions. I'm shocked that I haven't heard this film discussed more often? The video essay by James Quandt is essential viewing, providing a solid historical, cultural and cinematic context. It is a good example of film analysis. The film's eerie landscapes, enigmatic killer, wandering boy, stark brutality, social critique and visual contrasts brought to mind Cormac McCarthy's novel Blood Meridian.

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