Sogo Ishii

  • Gakuryû Ishii (Sogo Ishii) – Electric Dragon 80.000 V (2001)

    2001-2010ActionFantasyJapanSogo Ishii

    A violent, guitar-playing, electrically charged boxer faces off against an electronic wizard half-merged with a metallic Buddha.Read More »

  • Sogo Ishii – Hachiju-Hachi-Man Bun no Ichi no Kodoku aka The Solitude of One Divided by 880,000 (1978)

    1971-1980AsianJapanShort FilmSogo Ishii

    IMDB says:
    An elegiac ode to a loner who finds it difficult to fit in and the inevitable eruption of his frustration, Isolation of 1/880000 tells the story of Takemitsu, a disabled young man caught in the “examination hell” of trying to get into one of Japan’s top universities. Director Sogo Ishii (now renamed as Gakuryu Ishii) was the original 8mm punk, whose works expressed unhinged energy and made speed, intensity and rebellion their stylistic and thematic center, carrying over into his later 16mm and 35mm films such as Crazy Thunder Road and Crazy Family. In contrast, Isolation prefigures the more ethereal aesthetic of his big budget 1990s films.Read More »

  • Sogo Ishii – Totsugeki! Hakata Gurentai aka Charge! Hooligans of Hakata (1978)

    1971-1980AsianCrimeJapanSogo Ishii

    The film that put ISHII on the map, thanks to a Grand Prize at Japan’s bastion of indie cinema, the PIA Film Festival. Those who know the director mainly for his punk style films will be surprised, not to mention delighted, by this ode to 1970s yakuza movies à la Kinji FUKASAKU. A movie like a good rock band: it stars a charismatic young cast, has energy to spare, and thumps with a pace and rhythm that sweep you breathlessly along. (Tom Mes)Read More »

  • Sogo Ishii – Bakuretsu toshi AKA Burst City (1982)

    1981-1990ActionDramaJapanSogo Ishii

    Those looking for examples of the importance of Sogo Ishii in the development of Japanese cinema, and his abilities as a filmmaker, need to look no further than Burst City. At first sight a rather eclectic mix of Mad Max-style imagery with yakuza elements, filtered though a punk sensibility, on closer inspection Burst City reveals the seeds of many of the developments in contemporary Japanese cinema and beyond. It foreshadows everything from the works of Shinya Tsukamoto and Takashi Miike to two decades’ worth of MTV music videos. And quite a few things in between.Read More »

  • Sogo Ishii – Kuruizaki Sanda Rodo aka Crazy Thunder Road (1980)

    1971-1980ActionCultJapanSogo Ishii


    Jin, an antagonistic youth, tries to take over a motorcycle gang once its leader, Ken, announces he’s going to retire and settle down with his girlfriend. But things aren’t so easy for Jin. The other gangs have united, and decide that Jin’s reckless ways are a thing of the past, so they band together to take him and his four followers out.Read More »

  • Sogo Ishii – Gyakufunsha kazoku AKA The Crazy Family (1984)

    Comedy1981-1990AsianJapanSogo Ishii


    The Kobayashi family finally get the chance to move out of their tiny, cramped Tokyo apartment in favour of the suburban house of their dreams. But all is not well: the house is infested by termites and the family starts cracking up: Son Masaki is studying so obsessively for his exams that he’s losing his mind; daughter Erika is oblivious of all but her forthcoming record company audition, grandfather Yasukuni starts getting World War II flashbacks and father Katsuhiko is so worried about his family’s “sickness” that he thinks can only be cured by group suicide…Read More »

  • Sogo Ishii – Mizu no naka no hachigatsu AKA August in the Water (1995)

    1991-2000DramaFantasyJapanSogo Ishii


    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.Read More »

  • Sogo Ishii – Dead End Run (2003)

    2001-2010ActionExperimentalJapanSogo Ishii


    Dead End Run is an hour length collection of three short films by Japanese visual genius Ishii Sogo. Starring three of Japan’s hippest and most talented actors: Yusuke Iseya (Casshern,) Masatoshi Nagase (Electric Dragon 80,000V) and the extraordinary cool Tadanobu Asano (Ichi the Killer, Electric Dragon 80,000v.) Each short focuses on the protagonists running away from a threat, be it a hitman or the police then finding themselves stuck in a dead end. Read More »

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