7.8/10
3,014
15 user 36 critic

Pitfall (1962)

Otoshiana (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Fantasy | 1 July 1962 (Japan)
A man wanders into a seemingly deserted town with his young son in search of work. But after a bit of bad luck, he joins the town's population of lost souls.

Writers:

Kôbô Abe (screenplay), Kôbô Abe (story)
Reviews

On TV

Airs Mon. Jun. 24, 2:00 AM on TCM

ON DISC

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A businessman with a disfigured face obtains a lifelike mask from his doctor, but the mask starts altering his personality.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Mikijirô Hira, Kyôko Kishida
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

An entomologist on vacation is trapped by local villagers into living with a woman whose life task is shoveling sand for them.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Eiji Okada, Kyôko Kishida, Hiroko Itô
Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A private detective is hired to find a missing man by his wife. Contradictory evidence and the lack of clues soon render the case as virtually unsolvable, as the detective grows more and more frustrated.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Etsuko Ichihara, Osamu Ôkawa
Rikyu (1989)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Legendary tea master Sen no Rikyu is faced with his warmongering lord's unrealistic pretensions.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Rentarô Mikuni, Yoshiko Mita, Tsutomu Yamazaki
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A family of four are the sole inhabitants of a small island, where they struggle each day to irrigate their crops.

Director: Kaneto Shindô
Stars: Nobuko Otowa, Taiji Tonoyama, Shinji Tanaka
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A Vietnam veteran deserts from the US Army while on leave in Japan.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Keith Sykes, Reisen Ri, Kazuo Kitamura
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A Japanese pacifist, unable to face the dire consequences of conscientious objection, is transformed by his attempts to compromise with the demands of war-time Japan.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi
Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Chikage Awashima
Gô-hime (1992)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Chronicles the trials and tribulations of Oribe, the successor to tea-master Rikyu, Usu, his gardener, and Princess Goh, who attempt to balance artistic expression and duty amid political intrigue in feudal Japan.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: Rie Miyazawa, Tatsuya Nakadai, Toshiya Nagasawa
Kuroneko (1968)
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Two women are raped and killed by samurai soldiers. Soon they reappear as vengeful ghosts who seduce and brutally murder the passing samurai.

Director: Kaneto Shindô
Stars: Kichiemon Nakamura, Nobuko Otowa, Kei Satô
Kwaidan (1964)
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A collection of four Japanese folk tales with supernatural themes.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi
Stars: Rentarô Mikuni, Michiyo Aratama, Misako Watanabe
Onibaba (1964)
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Two women kill samurai and sell their belongings for a living. While one of them is having an affair with their neighbor, the other woman meets a mysterious samurai wearing a bizarre mask.

Director: Kaneto Shindô
Stars: Nobuko Otowa, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Kei Satô
Harakiri (1962)
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi
Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Ishihama, Shima Iwashita
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
Hisashi Igawa ... Miner / Otsuka
Sumie Sasaki Sumie Sasaki ... Shopkeeper
Sen Yano Sen Yano ... Toyama
Hideo Kanze Hideo Kanze ... Policeman
Kunie Tanaka ... Man in white suit
Kei Satô Kei Satô ... Reporter
Kazuo Miyahara ... The miner's son
Akemi Nara Akemi Nara
Tadashi Fukuro Tadashi Fukuro ... Second union member
Kikuo Kaneuchi Kikuo Kaneuchi ... Photographer
Kanichi Ômiya Kanichi Ômiya ... Second miner
Shigeru Matsuo Shigeru Matsuo ... Farmer
Ton Shimada Ton Shimada ... Dead miner
Sanpei Asakura Sanpei Asakura
Heiguro Matsumoto Heiguro Matsumoto
Edit

Storyline

A documentary fantasy. Penniless miners talk in passing about labor unions. A miner and his young son go to a village in Kyushu where the miner has been told he'll find work, but it's a ghost town, save for one woman. The miner leaves and is followed by a man in a white suit and white gloves. A murder takes place: faked footprints, bribery and intrigue, investigations, a frame-up, and a ghost who wants to know why meet in a story of realism and the surreal. A child mutely witnesses all. Does the truth count for anything in this world or in the next? Can everything be manipulated? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

1 July 1962 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Pitfall See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #393. See more »

Connections

Featured in Music for the Movies: Tôru Takemitsu (1994) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Geometry of a discordant axis - an early Teshigahara masterpiece
28 January 2009 | by chaos-rampantSee all my reviews

Although structurally and aesthetically experimental cinema, Teshigahara's debut proper already carries all the trademarks of an assured author and although a bit rough around the edges here and there it shows a director experimenting with his craft even as he perfects it. Japanese new-wave ferried to its logical conclusion even as it takes its first baby steps.

Based on a story by Kôbô Abe, PITFALL explores the myriad possibilities that emerge from the space where life and death overlap, as a poor miner is murdered under mysterious circumstances in the marshes near an old ghost town. His murderer, an alluring white-clad figure, buys off the silence of the one witness, a woman operating a candy store in the ghost town district, and disappears as mysteriously as he appeared. In the mean time the murdered man wakes up next to his corpse only to discover he's now a ghost.

While THE SIXTH SENSE milked a very similar idea for maximum mainstream appeal, shock twists and shallow thrills, Teshigahara is wise to allow his material to breathe. Even though a very pragmatic subplot about two rival labour unions introduced in the end of act two detracts from the existential nature of the story, like all great storytellers Teshigahara never settles for the convenient and tidy, refuses to explain what the viewer most needs explained. Personal interpretation is very important in any work and particularly in something as haunting as this. Who is the killer? Why is he doing it? Questions left open, the character cleverly typed as a seriocomic grim reaper of sorts riding around in his moped, a manifestation that invokes notions of fate by the very nature of his acts. Is there not meaning when one is not aware of it?

Teshigahara pits the dead against the dead, the living against the living and everybody against each other, ghosts quizically examining their corpses and wondering the reason of their deaths, the living deaf to their protestations and too busy being suspicious of each other. A world revolving around a discordant axis, thrown off balance and left for us to explore its geometry.

Teshigahara's direction reflecting the uncertainty and disorientation of the plot as much as Toru Takemitsu's dissonant score. A POV shot of a child introduced only for the child to walk inside its own POV shot. Jarring jump cuts that send characters jumping through space. Construction works photographed in all their derelict, abandonded glory, a ghost world for the dead to haunt. Notions of hell on earth. The ghost of the murdered man complaining he's hungry as winds rise in the soundtrack. A pack of dogs ascending a steep slope like other Sissyphi. Very precise, very geometric, the work of an assured visual director.


12 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 15 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed