Tetsuo is an Experimental Movie released in 1989 by Japanese director Shin'ya Tsukamoto. The score of the movie was composed by Chu Ishikawa and is inspired by the german pioneer bands in experimental music Einstürzende Neubauten and DAF (Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft)

It is considered as a cult movie especially in the Cyberpunk scene and can undoubtedly be considered as a piece of art in film noir such as David Lynch's earliest big contribution to the genre Eraserhead.

Plot: A metal fetishist cuts his leg open and shoves a large piece of steel rod into his wound. The same man later on gets killed in a car accident by a business man. The business man tries to cover up the incident by throwing the metal fetishist into the woods. Later as the business man shaves himself he discovers a piece of metal on his cheek, as he tries to remove it he discovers that it is growing from within. The rest of the movie is devoted to witness the gradual metamorphosis of the business man into a walking pile of scrap.

Scenes of interest, that require some Analysis:

There are several scenes in the movies that I am interested in, I limit them to (in order of interest):

  • The scene where the business man is on the phone with someone and says nothing but repeatedly 'hello'
  • The erotic nightmare of the business man
  • The metamorphosis of the business man's penis into a power drill
  • "The being/entity within" which is often seen in many scenes
  • The so called 'New World' as introduced in the movie where everything is made out of metal

Despite the fact that there won't be one perfect interpretation to the above scenes I am highly interested in peoples point of view and interpretations of them. I am not asking for whether or not you like these scenes or if you think they contribute to the movie or not.

Optional (rumours):

Facts?: It is said that the scene where the business man 'kills' the metal fetishist by throwing his arguably alive body into the wood which arouses his girlfriend to an extend of her having sex with him, inspired Lars Von Trier to make a movie.
- Does anyone have relevant references to this? What movie would that be?

  • 5
    "There is no such thing then a clear answer or perfect interpretation to this movie" - There also doesn't seem to be such thing as a clear question on it, does it? Sorry, sarcasm aside and constructively speaking, while it would be a shame to lose it (and I'll certainly wait what happens before even thinking about close-voting), the question currently seems very (if not too) broad even for an analysis question (but I also don't see a way to substantiate it further right now).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented May 3, 2014 at 20:19
  • 1
    One 67 Minutes Movie. 5 Scenes of interest (approximately runtime 2 minutes each). 1 Reference to another famous Movie director which needs revision. 1 Post on this website. Seems legit.
    – Spaced
    Commented May 4, 2014 at 11:55
  • 3
    I didn't say it isn't "legit". But numbers aside the question seems to ask "what you think about movie?".
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented May 4, 2014 at 12:03
  • "I am highly interested in peoples point of view and interpretations of them." -> This points to me that this question is asking for opinions, which is Off-Topic but then you follow up this statement by saying you don't want opinions, confusing at best. The "Optional" part of this question is the only real question that is being asked. There is definitely something of value here but how to dig it up, I'm not quite sure.
    – Tablemaker
    Commented Jun 15, 2014 at 12:57

1 Answer 1


I would point out there are some more related elements that are key to interpreting Tetsuo:

  • the character you refer to as "businessman" is explicitly dressed as a "salaryman" - a "type" in the 1980s, emblematic of someone who works for a corporation
  • note when Tetsuo was made (1989)... now look at what Japan actually looked like then. The Art Direction creates a setting that is midcentury, not contemporary to the production
  • note all the Americana in Tetsuo. Compare this to the Western influences in Kurosawa's "Stray Dog"

Thus I believe many of the themes in Testuo are about:

  • the industrialization and Westernization of Japan
  • how the late Showa-era economy was bringing monetary success, but also the destruction of Japanese culture

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