IMDb > A Snake of June (2002)

A Snake of June (2002) More at IMDbPro »Rokugatsu no hebi (original title)

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Release Date:
13 June 2003 (Ireland) See more »
Issho ni, jigoku ni ikimashô
A man and woman fall into an erotic nightmare when they are stalked by a disturbed man. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
5 wins & 2 nominations See more »
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User Reviews:
Slightly surreal erotic thriller See more (26 total) »


  (in credits order)

Directed by
Shin'ya Tsukamoto 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Shin'ya Tsukamoto 

Produced by
Shin'ichi Kawahara .... associate producer
Keiko Kusakabe .... distribution producer
Shin'ya Tsukamoto .... producer
Original Music by
Chu Ishikawa 
Cinematography by
Shin'ya Tsukamoto 
Film Editing by
Zenya Ohara 
Shin'ya Tsukamoto 
Production Design by
Shin'ya Tsukamoto 
Costume Design by
Hiroko Iwasaki 
Makeup Department
Hidemi Fukuyama .... makeup artist
Takashi Oda .... special makeup effects artist
Production Management
Hidemi Fukuyama .... production manager
Hiroki Hattori .... assistant production manager
Kiyo Joo .... overseas manager
Hirota Sagae .... assistant production manager
Wakahide Yamashita .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ken Koide .... assistant director
Hisakatsu Kuroki .... assistant director
Art Department
Tomoko Chiba .... assistant art director
Yoichi Hirose .... assistant art director
Aya Koshiga .... assistant art director
Yûko Nakamura .... assistant art director
Yuki Nishimiya .... assistant art director
Masao Yamamoto .... assistant art director
Sound Department
Masaya Kitada .... sound effects editor
Akira Nakano .... sound recordist
Akihiko Okase .... foley artist
Shô Rizawa .... sound opticals
Kenji Shibasaki .... sound effects editor
Yuji Tagami .... sound editor
Special Effects by
Satoshi Hayashi .... special effects
Yûichi Karasawa .... gun effects
Kuri Kumazawa .... special effects makeup
Gen Nakamura .... special effects
Takashi Oda .... dummy effects
Susumu Sano .... special effects makeup
Azuma Takano .... special effects makeup
Mitsuki Yoshida .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Masafumi Adachi .... assistant photographer
Kaori Satô .... assistant camera
Takayuki Shida .... assistant photographer
Michiyo Tenma .... still photographer
Keisuke Yoshida .... assistant camera
Kyôko Yuri .... assistant camera
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Yuka Katô .... costume producer
Nenko Kawano .... costume production assistant
Masako Kuga .... costume production assistant
Hiroko Yamazaki .... costume producer
Editorial Department
Shunei Fukano .... assistant editor
Masaharu Oomi .... colour timing
Naoki Osada .... negative cutter
Seiji Satô .... colour timing
Kiyomi Watarai .... assistant editor
Other crew
Masaharu Sekiguchi .... opticals
Teruo Tsuda .... title designer

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Rokugatsu no hebi" - Japan (original title)
See more »
Rated R for strong sexuality, nudity and some violence
77 min | Canada:77 min (Toronto International Film Festival)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:


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25 out of 30 people found the following review useful.
Slightly surreal erotic thriller, 3 May 2005
Author: Brandt Sponseller from New York City

Rinko Tatsumi (Asuka Kurosawa) works as a telephone counselor at a Tokyo-area suicide hotline. We see her as pleasant but maybe somewhat unsure of herself while doing her job, and we see her at home, where she is oddly distanced from her husband, Shigehiko (Yuji Kohtari). She receives an odd package in the mail in which she discovers voyeuristic, erotic photographs of herself. Another package contains a cell phone. The photographer calls her, and she finds herself embroiled in a relationship with a stalker who threatens to kill her if she alerts anyone.

In a nutshell, this is a Brian De Palma-styled "erotic thriller", with typical Asian horror dream logic sensibilities and spurts of Terry Gilliam-inspired surrealism. As a Japanese genre film, it has a common characteristic that works well in some films but not so well in others: it begins very taut and suspenseful, but makes some odd, oblique, ambiguous turns halfway through, then ends almost by an abandonment. Here the progression is a bit iffy, and is responsible for most of the point subtractions in my rating.

Stylistically, Snake of June is more than impressive. Director Shinya Tsukamoto, the helmer behind such notorious Japanese genre films as Tetsuo (1988) and Bullet Ballet (1998), takes a cue from recent Hollywood genre films and trumps the monochromatic-leaning cinematography by just shooting in black and white and tinting the film blue during processing. June is Japan's rainy season (the title refers partially to the month), and Tsukamoto sets the film amidst almost constant, frequently torrential rain. The combined effect is very ethereal; it's melancholy but sensual at the same time, and establishes the perfect mood for the story.

Tsukamoto made a commendable move in casting three principals who are anything but conventional in terms of age and looks. Kurosawa is older than the typical "sex bomb", and even looks a bit older than she really was while shooting. Tsukamoto has her "frumped up" a bit, making her a bit dowdy. Kohtari looks almost old enough to be her father (aided by his balding crown), and Tsukamoto himself plays the middle-aged stalker (again looking even older than his actual age). The casting choices were intelligent, as it sets the film in a more believable realm, with more "everyday" people.

Of course, Kurosawa's Rinko is still quite sexy, and becomes more so as the film progresses, partially because of her behavior and partially because of a subtle physical transformation she undergoes. Tsukamoto's stalker, Iguchi (one of the possible "snakes" of the title), is quite twisted in many of the physical acts he demands of Rinko (and much more depraved in the later manipulations of Shigehiko, which approach torture), but they amount to her blossoming in her sexuality, despite the initial relationship between Rinko and Iguchi which is almost forcefully coercive.

The basic idea of the film is fairly straightforward, although Tsukamoto throws in more surreal tangents probably intended to throw viewers off somewhat (some scenes, such as the bizarre one involving a "metal penis" (another snake allusion) with which Iguchi punishes Shigehiko, are purposefully ambiguous--Tsukamoto says on the DVD extras that even he is not sure what it means). The gist is that Iguchi, who was saved from killing himself by Rinko, has realized that life must be lived to its fullest in each moment--emotionally and physically/experientially. He thanks Rinko for producing a kind of awakening to this idea, and wants to return the favor, especially since he's noticed her emotionally vacuous marriage and her unfulfilled carnal desires. Each character develops as the film progresses, coming to a further realization of the central idea, even embracing the experience of pain and impending doom (which is probably why Rinko is shown not getting the medical attention she needs).

What makes the film so controversial, aside from its somewhat twisted sex scenes (which are primarily masturbatory), is that the positive character developments are through Sadean, non-consensual, felonious actions including or bordering on rape, murder, blackmail, false imprisonment, and so on. This isn't a film for the weak of heart, or for anyone who dislikes gray morality.

Although necessary for character development, the about-face that occurs in the middle of the film when Iguchi begins to focus on Shigehiko instead of Rinko also marks a point where all of the lovely thriller tension that Tsukamoto built up in the first half is abandoned. Rinko has taken Iguchi's suggested direction willingly--we see her become increasingly more daring as she enjoys her newfound free spirit, Shigehiko quickly seems to be a willing submissive, and Iguchi begins to seem a bit more pathetic than menacing. After what has come before, the final scene is a bit of an anti-climax, at least on a "visceral" level. It's not that the second half isn't entertaining, but the tone is very different--to an extent that it almost feels like a different film at times.

Still, A Snake of June is successful overall. As with many Asian genre films, it requires that you watch not expecting a neatly wrapped up, linear plot that could function as a logical argument. Viewed in the right frame of mind, you should find much to enjoy.

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