Strange Circus 奇妙なサーカス (2003)

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Strange Circus                                                           Strange Circus Japanese Film Poster

Japanese Title: 奇妙なサーカス

Romaji: Kimyou na Sa-kasu

Japanese Release Date: 24th May, 2003

Running Time: 83 mins.

Director: Sion Sono

Writer: Sion Sono

Starring: Masumi Miyazaki, Issei Ishida, Rie Kuwana, Mai Takahashi, Tomorowo Taguchi, Hiroshi Oguchi

I love all of Sono’s films. Not equally though. As powerful as I find his dramas like Himizu and Noriko’s Dinner Table, I really loooooove his horror films like Suicide Circle and Cold Fish. This is the first time that I have watched Strange Circus, having only read a great review for it on Goregirl’s blog but I can safely say that this is one of Sono’s best.

Mitsuko Ozawa (Kuwana) is a young girl whose father Gozo (Oguchi) is the principal of the school she attends. Her existence is one of fear as her father is a sexual predator. At first she is forced to see her father having sex with her mother Sayuri (Miyazaki) but is soon sexually abused herself. This causes an insane jealousy to develop in her mother which leads to a deadly accident… Or does it? The above nightmare Mitsuko suffers is part of novel written by successful author Taeko (Miyazaki). She has taken on a new assistant named Yuji Tamiya (Ishida) who will expose dark secrets.

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Isn’t Anyone Alive? 生きてるものはいないのか (2012)

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Isn’t Anyone Alive?                                                         Isn't Anyone Alive DVD Case

Japanese Title: 生きてるものはいないのか

Romaji: Ikiterumono Inainoka

Japanese Release Date: 18th February, 2012

UK DVD Release Date: 22nd October, 2012 (Third Window Films)

Running Time: 113 mins.

Director: Gakuryu Ishii (aka Sogo Ishii)

Writer: Gakuryu Ishii (Screen Adaptation), Shiro Maeda(Original Story, Screenplay)

Starring: Shota Sometani, Rin Takanashi, Hakka Shiraishi, Asato Iida, Mai Takahashi, Yumika Tajima, Ami Ikenaga, Kota Fudauchi, Keisuke Hasebe, Hiroaki Morooka, Tatsuya Hasome, Eri Aoki, Konatsu Tanaka, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Shoshiro Tsuda, Tateto Serizawa, Chizuko Sugiura, Jun Murakami

Isn’t Anyone Alive? is the latest film from Gakuryu Ishii (formerly Sogo Ishii), a  director I have recently discovered after watching his talky serial killer thriller Angel Dust which I loved. This is his first film after taking a decade out to take up a teaching post at Kobe Design University. Ishii once again shows his skill as a director but instead of cult killers he is tackling the absurd.

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