Tsukamoto's 'Nightmare Detective' R1 USA DVD February 19th 2008.


nightmare_detective.jpgOne of the many titles seemingly not appearing any time soon in an edition likely to get lots of people's attention, Tsukamoto's latest film to have hit screens in several countries will finally appear in America on DVD early in the new year; an Amazon.com listing has appeared, confirming the date (as it stands at this time) but it's not active - keep your eye out from now on.

As with many films that have strong connections to a more promising market of awaiting fans and those that are at least aware of the man and his work to some extent (Ifew can still match Tsukamoto for how aware the non-domestic market is of his work), the lack of information is deafening with regards what you'll get between now and then, or what you'll get on release - no artwork, no specs, no obvious cinema release (though i've seen an American trailer for the film) and no really tangiable things to get you excited or at least begin to build the awareness, preparedness for the impeding release. The choice of film itself, well, that's solid - it's a more commercial blend of Tsukamoto's oddness, more like 'Marebito' than any other film from his past, and it works a lot better than the other major journey into such an exercise, ''Hiruko the Goblin', but will likely simply get as little attention as many of the other superbly put-together projects which have followed over the years but never managed to depose the iconic status of late 80's shocker 'Tetsuo'.

A whole host of individual pieces lie between there and here, most obviously shifting in recent years with the colouful and deceptively-toned stunner 'Vital', diving again into more suggestive and unsettling territory with the very effective and inventive 'Marebito', turning towards a tale of people being attacked in their dreams within 'Nightmare Detective'. The DVD released in Italy during 2007 by Raro Video seemed perfectly good to me at the time, and I suspect many who knew long ago they might be kept waiting will have taken a dive towards that disc... those focussing their options from within the larger (but not necessarily as broad) choice of films issued stateside will either already know they're interested, or they will have already dismissed it through feeling they're sure what they might expect or that there's other things which at least appear or feel fresher, or have preconceptions about what they'll get with bely how deftly Tsukamoto remains thoroughly individual and yet strangely capable of confidently slipping to a different take, tone, set of ideas to explore. May not be the best thing in recent years, but it's a memorable, deep, and incredibly odd film.

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