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97 minutes · 2013
Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara is best known for his second feature, Woman in the Dunes (1964), a collaboration with novelist-playwright Kobo Abe and modernist composer Toru Takemitsu. But Pitfall (1962), the trio's first project, is no less arty, allegorical, or bold. Combining elements of agitprop, ghost story, and police procedural, it focuses on the murder of an out-of-work coal miner (identified in subtitles as a "deserter," but only from the enslavement of his former job) by an enigmatic killer dressed in white. Teshigahara's visual flair, evident in his sculptural use of wastelands and remarkable superimpositions, is matched by the singular assault of Takemitsu's unorthodox score, though the film attempts too many things at once to have the impact of its successor. In Japanese with subtitles.

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