Sogo Ishii – Mizu no naka no hachigatsu AKA August in the Water (1995)
Taking in the whole spectrum of pre-millennial new age phenomena, the bizarre August in the Water (whose English language release title is a direct translation of the Japanese, though is not to be confused with Yoichiro Takahashi’s identically titled Mizu No Naka No Hachigatsu, a 1998 coming of age drama which did the Festival circuit under the English language title of Fishes in August) is a bit of a mixed bag. Thematically, it’s a real inspiration. The X-Files notwithstanding, this sort of imaginative pseudo-scientific fantasy stands fairly uniquely amongst contemporary cinematic output. Visually the film is also a wonder, with impressive use of natural lighting in the bright exteriors, and beautifully composed Zen-like static shots of the assorted esoteric ephemera alternating with rapid multiple-angle edits and abstracted close-ups of the natural phenomena.