Wednesday, July 10, 2024

A pointer toward August in the Water (1995) which plays Japan Cuts 2024 July 14

I saw AUGUST IN THE WATER decades ago. There was a time many years ago, before the internet when you had to track things down via books and magazines and other things. During that time I started to seek out the weird films from across the globe that I had heard about from other film fans and things like Video Watch Dog magazine  and Asian Trash Cinema. Through them I found various sources where I would get VHS copies of films that never played here.

Among the films I tracked down was the work of Gakuryu "Sogo" Ishii, whose THE BOXMAN is Japan Cuts.  His films like CRAZY THUNDER ROAD (1980),  BURST CITY (1982) and CRAZY FAMILY (2024)  were rewriting the rules of cinema. His films were low budget affairs but filled with vision and heart.  I wasn't always certain I liked his films but I always knew that I was watching was something special.  More importantly when you were watching the works of other young filmmakers working in Japan at the same time you could see how he was opening minds of the guys who wanted to also push the envelope.

As I said at the top I saw AUGUST IN THE WATER decades ago. Somewhere along the way I know I had a bootleg of it and I devoured it.  It was another work by a master director who was growing as a filmmaker but at the same time hadn't lost his vision. If you want proof watch his growth from BURST CITY to this and on to his current release THE BOXMAN, while at the same note that he never ever is conventional, but instead using the story  to inform him how tell the story in the best way possible, no matter what that is.

He is one of the best directors working today that you probably never heard of.

If you want to see  an early singular film by a great director, see AUGUST IN THE WATER. See it and see a film that will grab you and carry you along.  See it and see a film that influenced a generation or two of younger filmmakers.

And while you're at it see his THE BOX MAN on July 13th because it's a masterpiece.

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