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AUGUST IN THE WATER

Japan, 2000 (MIFF 2001, Electric Angels – The Films of Ishii Sogo)

Director: Ishii Sogo

Astronomical anomalies scar the heavens as twin meteorites fall to Earth. Strange phenomena begin to assail Fukuoka; a drought blights the region and people begin to die terribly, falling prey to the 'Stone Disease', a virus that slowly petrifies their internal organs. Isima, a teenage diving champion, transfers to the local high school. She soon attracts the romantic attention of Mao but after a near-fatal diving accident, falls into a coma. Upon awakening, Isima exhibits an otherworldly detachment from reality and has an instinctual understanding of the events signalled by the arrival of the pair of meteorites. Stylistically, the film admirably eschews expensive visual effects in its portrayal of esoteric occurrences, settling for natural lighting, brightly lit exteriors, rapid multiple-angle credits, and abstracted close-ups of natural phenomena (akin to the hyper-conspiratorial Pi. (PI), MIFF 1998).

In this regard it has been compared to Tarkovsky's alternate reality, sci-li classic, Solaris, in that it creates a meditative blank canvas on to which viewers can project their own interpretations of events. Hints of extra­terrestrial interference, ancient mysticism (an element that surfaced again later in Gojoe), and scientific meddling abound, in a tale framed within a gentle romance and propelled by stupendous cinematography and music. Exceptional work.

See also...

DEAD END RUN

Japan, 2004
Dead End RunJapanAfter a blistering retrospective in 2001, Japanese iconoclast Ishii Sogo is back on the big screen delivering another hyperkinetic blast of sonic intensity and visual dynamism. For t… More »

THE CRAZY FAMILY

Japan, 1984
An absurdist comedy from the new wave of Japanese cinema by a young director, Sogo Ishii, who has acquired a national reputation in his own country for rock 'n roll and motorcycle movies. Here, he te… More »

The Master of Shiatsu

Japan, 1989
An elderly shiatsu master gives a young woman a massage. A massage so effective it seems to take over the city. ... A new short film from the director of The Crazy Family (MFF '85). ... More »

LABYRINTH OF DREAMS

Japan, 1996
Sogo Ishii's Labyrinth Of Dreams is radically removed from Angel Dust, his last film seen in Australia (MIFF 1995). However their polar differ­ences indicate the breadth and scope of Ishii's crea… More »

ELECTRIC DRAGON 80,000 VOLTS

Japan, 2000
Playing by a high-voltage power pylon as a child, Dragon Eye Morrison receives a massive electric shock. Rather than terminate his young life, the charge ignites a long dormant, prehistoric predispos… More »

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