Sogo Ishii’s “The Crazy Family” will be screened at the Barbican on June 11th

The Barbican are running an exhibition about Japanese homes and domestic architecture called The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945. It began on March 23rd and lasts until June 25th. As part of the exhibition there will be films screened. I’ve already written about Princess Kaguya, An Autumn Afternoon, and Woman in the Dunes, and this one is straight from left-field since it comes from Sogo Ishii (now known as Gakuryu Ishii) while he was still in his punk period! It’s called The Crazy Family and it was released in 1984. It will be screened on June 11th at 16:00.

Here is the information:

The Crazy Family Film Image

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

Isn't Anyone Alive Review Header Image

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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Third Window Films Release Isn’t Anyone Alive?

When I first saw a trailer for Sogo Ishii’s latest film Isn’t Anyone Alive? at the beginning of the year, I tagged it as looking “very interesting”. When I heard that Third Window Films had picked up for distribution I was overjoyed because I like this type of film. When I watched Angel Dust recently, I knew I had to see this film because Ishii’s skill behind the camera was spell-binding. I have finally watched it and can confirm that I bloody love it. Just how much I feel that way will be determined by a re-watch, but expect a review next week. For now, here are the details:

 Isn't Anyone Alive DVD Case

Isn’t Anyone Alive?

A film by Sogo Ishii (Gojoe, Burst City, Crazy Thunder Road)

Starring: Shota Somentani (Himizu, Sadako 3D, A Man with Style)

Murakami Jun (Yakuza Weapon, Himizu, Land of Hope)

Rin Takanashi (Goth: Love of Death, Like Someone in Love)

Mai Takahashi (Strange Circus, The Great Yokai War)

Japan / 2011 / 113 Mins / In Japanese with English subtitles / Colour / 35mm

Release Date: 22nd October 2012

Set in a university campus that is attached to a hospital, there is a escaped female patient, a strange man, students and a café worker in a love triangle, a mother looking for a lost child, a love-sick doctor and an unreceptive nurse and an urban legend which could be linked to the end of the world. When people talk about this bizarre urban myth connected to the University hospital, people start dying inexplicably one after another…

With the air of this ‘energy void’ throughout, the world of this absurd black comedy, based upon the theatre play of the same name, starts to take over the world.

With ‘Crazy Thunder Road’ (1980), ‘Burst City’ (1982), ‘The Crazy Family’ (1984), ‘Angel Dust’ (1994), ‘Electric Dragon 80,000V’ (2001) and more, Gakuryu Ishii (previously known as Sogo Ishii) has been amusing us with his talent of totally overstepping genre boundaries with striking images and music. In his latest feature film he has adapted the Shiro Maeda play ‘Isn’t Anyone Alive‘.

DVD Special Features:

Theatrical Trailer

Angel Dust エンジェル ダスト (1994)

Genkina hito Review Banner for J-thriller Angel Dust

Angel Dust                                                       Angel Dust Movie Poster

Romaji: Enjeru Dasuto 

Japanese Title:エンジェル ダスト

Release Date: 23rd September 1994 (Japan)

Running Time: 116 mins.

Director: Sogo Ishii

Writer: Sogo Ishii, Yorozu Ikuta

Starring: Kaho Minami, Takeshi Wakamatsu, Etushi Toyokawa, Ryoko Takizawa, Masayuki Shionoya, Toshinori Kondo, Yukio Yamato, Jin Akiyama, Tomorowo Taguchi

I avoid serial killer films but Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Cure (1997) is the exception. I love it. It is partly due to the atmosphere that is unique to Kurosawa’s films, his intelligent deployment of cinematic techniques to create specific feelings and plot twists, the dose of the supernatural, intelligent writing, and deep characters. Angel Dust (1994) has many of the same elements.

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