Director – Steven Shainberg – 2002 – US – Cert. 18 – 106m
A Snake Of June (Rokugatsu No Hebi, 六月の蛇)
Director – Shinya Tsukamoto – 2002 – Japan – Cert. 18 – 77m
Double DVD review originally published in Third Way, February 2004.
The cover image (rear view of a female figure in tight, short skirt and stockinged legs, bent down, hands grasping ankles) suggests titillation, but the American production Secretary is actually a serious drama – albeit one laced with a healthy dose of black humour – about a sadomasochistic relationship. But beneath its fetishistic surface, it is something else – an exploration into why two specific people (and why they in particular rather than any others) make one flesh. And how that works for them if the two people are initially in some way damaged (as we all are).
Although from a very different culture, its Japanese counterpart A Snake Of June – made by the experimental cyberpunk auteur Tsukamoto (of Tetsuo: The Iron Man fame) – explores much the same territory. Being small, low budget productions frees both films from mass, multiplex mainstream audience demands, allowing their directors to instead tackle (inter)personal relationship issues in depth.… Read the rest