A Snake of June

Tsukamoto acts as the voyeur and stalker in this 77-minute bizarre erotic thriller – where he torments a young woman in a loveless marriage until she is able to act out her sexual fantasies. The first half of the film seems to explore the crushing weight polite society imposes on people's private desires. Everything in the film is mediated by the camera, which reveals the characters' darkest secrets and forces them into the light. Tsukamoto is literally pointing it at the audience and implicating us in his voyeurism.

The other side of that is that people don't just want to watch, they want to be seen. Rinko's fantasies revolve around being exposed and compromised, and the climax of the film (teased at the beginning) is when her inhibitions fall away in front of a camera with a giant flash. The suggestion may be that this desire is born out of frustration – her husband (in a humorous bit of sublimation) is more interested in scrubbing drains than addressing her sexual needs.

The film ultimately ends happily – the stalker confronts the husband with his wife's antics and berates him for not looking after her properly. It appears that Tsukamoto's character wants to replace him and take Rinko for himself, but the film becomes extremely surreal at this point and perhaps this love triangle is all in the husband's head. The final moments of the film has Tsukamoto calmly taking his portrait and then disappearing – his work in bringing the couple together complete.

The film is monochrome and tinted blue, apparently as a visual contrast to the pink film genre it is ostensibly operating in. It is constantly raining (the title refers to the rainy season and may be a ribald joke), and the pathetic fallacy is difficult to read. The rain is both cold and smothering, but also a symbol of the torrid passions swirling within the characters. The random shots of a snail the film keeps returing to may be a similar juxtaposition of something slow and cumbersome that is also sordid and sticky. The film unifies these contrasts – and suggests that the medium is an avenue by which to better understand ourselves, and each other.

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