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1962 1h 37m Crime Drama Fantasy List
100% Tomatometer 6 Reviews 90% Audience Score 500+ Ratings
A man and his son wander into a deserted small town in search of work, and they join the population of lost souls. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (6) Critics Reviews
Jonathan Rosenbaum Chicago Reader 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. Feb 26, 2008 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews An outstanding allegorical ghost story. Rated: B+ Jul 20, 2019 Full Review John Berra Electric Sheep Teshigahara employs simple but effective superimposition in order to visualise the realm of the afterlife. Aug 1, 2011 Full Review Fernando F. Croce CinePassion Teshigahara's wide-swinging yet precise visual vocabulary jolts any hint of staginess into strange cinematic life Sep 25, 2009 Full Review James Kendrick Q Network Film Desk There is something uneasy underlying the entire film, and watching it is not unlike stepping into a dream in which not everything makes perfect sense, but every detail commands your absolute attention. Rated: 3/4 Feb 26, 2008 Full Review Matt Bailey Not Coming to a Theater Near You One of the most successful teams in Japanese film was that of director Hiroshi Teshigahara, screenwriter Kobo Abe, composer Toru Takemitsu, and cinematographer Hiroshi Segawa. Apr 20, 2005 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (85) audience reviews
Audience Member Neorealist yet also surreal. It's a unique blend of social criticism and the paranormal, all tied together artfully. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/18/23 Full Review Audience Member Teshigahara's first feature is strikingly original, from the impressive blend of long shots and unusual angles to the very strange plot. The latter involves a war deserter turned labouring miner who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and is stabbed to death by a mysterious man in a white suit and gloves. Rising as a ghost, he observes (but can't interfere with) the efforts of the press and police to find his killer - and suspicion naturally falls on his identical double, a union official. If it sounds as though I've given away too much about the plot, this probably doesn't matter because the film continues to surprise (and delight) with its weirdness. Teshigahara called it documentary-fantasy and perhaps it does take a rather matter-of-fact approach to the proceedings (unique camera moves aside, of course), even when they are unrealistic. He followed up with Woman in the Dunes (1964) and Face of Another (1966), both highly stylized and also scripted by novelist Kobo Abe, who wrote Pitfall as well. A sixties artefact to be sure but still refreshing today. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/04/23 Full Review Audience Member for the epic ending, this is realy a good movie, it was confused at the beginig while the director focus on the workers and the painful work they do as sleeves. but it takes to another subject. i loved the child. that instinict he has, and it had been completly explained at the ending scene. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/03/23 Full Review Audience Member Director Teshigahara's movie is filled with dark metaphoric symbolism about afterlife in a wasteland. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 01/24/23 Full Review Audience Member A social/political drama involving a mysterious murder plot and the ghost of the man killed trying to figure out what happened to him. Strange, but very interesting. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/06/23 Full Review Audience Member "Otoshiana (Pitfall)" [1962] was the feature film debut of avant-garde Japanese filmmaker Hiroshi Teshigahara (1927-2001). It is the direct precursor to his masterpiece "The Woman in the Dunes (Suna no onna)" [1964]. Although not quite as poetic as its immediate successor, "Pitfall" is no less complex, but moves much more quickly, and clearly displays the influence of the Spanish surrealists on Teshigahara, especially filmmaker Luis Bunuel and artist Salvador Dali. The film is a delectable stew of genres, mixing documentary-fantasy with ghost story with social realism with political critique with allegory with investigative procedural with murder mystery with conspiracy thriller...all done to interesting and rewarding effect. A typically haunting and resonating score from Toru Takemitsu perfectly complements Kobo Abe's screenplay, Hiroshi Segawa's cinematography, and Teshigahara's direction. Great for repeat viewings. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/28/23 Full Review Read all reviews

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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis A man and his son wander into a deserted small town in search of work, and they join the population of lost souls.
Hiroshi Teshigahara
Tadashi Ôno
Kobo Abe
Production Co
Teshigahara Productions, Toho Company
Crime, Drama, Fantasy
Original Language
1h 37m