Pitfall

When a miner leaves his employers and treks out with his young son to become a migrant worker, he finds himself moving from one eerie landscape to another, intermittently followed (and photographed) by an enigmatic man in a clean, white suit, and eventually coming face-to-face with his inescapable destiny. Hiroshi Teshigahara’s debut feature and first collaboration with novelist Kobo Abe, Pitfall is many things: a mysterious, unsettling ghost story, a portrait of human alienation, and a compellingly surreal critique of soulless industry, shot in elegant black and white.

Film Info

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Video essay on the film by critic and festival programmer James Quandt
  • Theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation

Available In

Collector's Set

Three Films by Hiroshi Teshigahara

Three Films by Hiroshi Teshigahara

DVD Box Set

4 Discs

Ships Jul 15, 2018

$63.96

Out Of Print

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Video essay on the film by critic and festival programmer James Quandt
  • Theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
Pitfall
Cast
Hisashi Igawa
The miner/Otsuka
Kunie Tanaka
Man in white
Hideo Kanze
The cop
Kazuo Miyahara
The son
Sumie Sasaki
Shopkeeper
Kanichi Omiya
2nd miner
Kei Sato
Reporter
Sen Yano
Toyama
Ton Shimada
Dead miner
Shigeru Matsuo
Farmer
Kikuo Kaneuchi
Photographer
Credits
Director
Hiroshi Teshigahara
Screenplay
Kôbô Abe
Producer
Tadashi Ono
Cinematography
Hiroshi Segawa
Editing
Fusako Morimichi
Sound
Kenji Mori
Sound
Junosuke Okuyama
Titles
Kiyosji Awazu
Artistic advisor
Masao Yamazaki

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Aug 6, 2013
The Spectral Landscape of Teshigahara,
Abe, and Takemitsu

The names Hiroshi Teshigahara, Kobo Abe, and Toru Takemitsu loom large among Japanese intellectuals of the late twentieth century. Each in his own right was an artist of peculiar genius, each resisting easy classification in conventional categories: …

By Peter Grilli


Jul 10, 2007
Pitfall: Outdoor Miner

Pitfall is the kind of semiuncanny, equivocally realist movie you might hope to duck into in a strange city, stumbling across it in a low-rent theater while escaping a bad date or a debt collector. Impressively anomalous and consistently unpredictabl…

By Howard Hampton


Jul 10, 2007

Explore

Toru Takemitsu

Composer

Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu, known to Western listeners predominantly as the man behind the music in such iconic movies as Woman in the Dunes and Ran, was an acclaimed classical composer and music theorist well before he became one of his country’s most reliably brilliant scorers of film. A noted musical avant-gardist in midcentury Japanese intellectual circles, as influenced by jazz as by Debussy, Takemitsu first turned to feature film composing when he was commissioned (along with Masaru Sato) to write the hip, twangy-guitar-inflected score for the Ko Nakahira youth flick Crazed Fruit (1956). It wasn’t until a few years later, though, when his friend Hiroshi Teshigahara asked him to score Teshigahara’s short debut film, José Torres (1959), that Takemitsu’s career in movies truly began. The deeply sympathetic working relationship that they discovered on that project resulted in Takemitsu’s providing the haunting, instrumentally jarring themes for virtually all of Teshigahara’s subsequent output (“He was always more than a composer,” Teshigahara would recall. “He involved himself so thoroughly in every aspect of a film—script, casting, location shooting, editing, and total sound design”). Takemitsu became a go-to guy for many other major Japanese filmmakers as well, including Masaki Kobayashi (Harakiri), Akira Kurosawa (Dodes’ka-den), and Nagisa Oshima (Empire of Passion); his themes remain some of the most beautiful, spectral music ever written for the screen.