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Iron Man: The Cinema of Shinya Tsukamoto
picture: Iron Man: The Cinema of Shinya Tsukamoto picture: Iron Man: The Cinema of Shinya Tsukamoto
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picture: Iron Man: The Cinema of Shinya Tsukamoto

Exclusive samples

From the foreword by Takashi Miike:

"The shooting day. Just after I arrived, I went to look for director Tsukamoto to thank him.
There he was. Director Tsukamoto was looking into the camera and giving indications for the lighting. Fake blood gushed from the head of the man lying on the floor in front of the lens. Even so early in the morning there was a curious tension in the air. Director Tsukamoto seemed unhappy with the composition, looked up from the viewfinder and glanced at his script with a frown. Then his eyes looked in my direction.
These eyes were wild. Totally wild."

From Chapter 2: Savage Theater:

"His brother Kôji remembers the results: 'His plays were very dynamic. He would have a truck suddenly driving onto the stage and all these guys wearing costumes made of American football shoulder pads would jump down from it. I was always very excited when watching his plays and I felt very proud that it was my brother who did these things. The style was very experimental, certainly for the period.'
Despite his theater career lasting nearly a decade, Tsukamoto says that all the plays they performed were variations on three stories he had come up with in university: 'I only ever wrote three plays. The first was about plastic surgery and the story ended with everyone in the city having the same face. The second was set at the end of the twentieth century and featured children who sold suicide plans to depressed adults. The third play was the original version of The Adventure of Denchu Kozo. I would change the titles of the plays for almost every performance.'"

From Chapter 4: Metallic K.O. - Tetsuo: The Iron Man:

"Tsukamoto began assembling a rough cut of Tetsuo in December of 1988, coming up with a version that was 77 minutes in length. 'I was really emotionally and physically committed to getting the film finished,' he recalls, 'especially during the editing because you need to mind a lot of details at that stage. As a result it was quite nerve-wracking. I became incredibly annoyed while doing the loud sound effects. Hearing some of those over and over drove me insane. When I finished the film I felt totally drained, I was almost autistic. It was exactly at that moment that Denchu Kozo won the Grand Prize at the PIA Film Festival, which pulled me back into the land of the living and motivated me again.'"

From Chapter 11: The Tell-Tale Heart - Vital:

"Tsukamoto's chosen approach did however create some major restrictions for the film's production. Asano being one of the most in-demand actors in Japan, he was unable to give Tsukamoto the many months the director had previously taken to make his films. Additionally, Tsukamoto had decided to shoot Vital on 35mm, which also created time restrictions: 'I wanted to shoot this film in 35mm because I wanted to film nature. In my mind nature should be shot in 35mm format, to bring out its colour. This meant that we had to rent a 35mm camera, which is more expensive than 16mm. In order to keep the budget manageable we had to limit the shoot to seven weeks. Vital was my own independent production, but the way we made it was a bit like the Chinese cooking style of Gemini.'
'Those seven weeks was the maximum we could allow ourselves,' admits Shinichi Kawahara, who in addition to his customary role of assistant director also co-produced the film. 'It was really tight, we couldn't even afford to have one additional day. We had to be very conscious of sticking exactly to the shooting schedule. Tsukamoto's attitude on set was the same as always, so it was a miracle that we could finish the film in such a short time.'"

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