films seen
17
average score
3.85*
nationality
Japan - 63 years old
status
Alive and kicking
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The root of Japanese punk cinema, even more so than Tsukamoto. Gakuryu (aka Sogo) Ishii is one of Japan's greatest hidden treasures, a director with a wild and fierce oeuvre that also holds some surprisingly subtle and emotional films.

Beyond exceptional

Mirrored Mind poster

Mirrored Mind

by Gakuryu Ishii
Also know as
Kyoshin
Specifics
Japan [2006] - 61 mins
Genre
Drama, Fantasy
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5.0

A perfect score and absolutely stunning visuals transport you to a different world, only to let go of you 60 minutes later, comforted and touched by the film's protagonist's struggle.

Rare treats

That's It poster

That's It

by Gakuryu Ishii
Also know as
Soredake
Specifics
Japan [2015] - 109 mins
Genre
Crime
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4.5

That's It is a blast. Energetic, mysterious, fun, wild ... it's just one big entertaining mess. The film looks great, sounds great and the actors are all on top of their game.

Electric Dragon 80000V poster

Electric Dragon 80000V

by Gakuryu Ishii
Specifics
Japan [2001] - 55 mins
Genre
Cyberpunk
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4.5

With only 55 minutes between start and finish, Electric Dragon 80000V is a quick watch. That said, if you don't appreciate what Ishii is doing here it might still feel like a two hour hell.

Dead End Run poster

Dead End Run

by Gakuryu Ishii
Specifics
Japan [2003] - 59 mins
Genre
Drama, Crime, Musical
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4.5

Overall Dead End Run is a fun, varied and classy anthology film where Sogo Ishii allows himself to show his more experimental side while leaving room for some softer touches.

Bitter Honey poster

Bitter Honey

by Gakuryu Ishii
Also know as
Mitsu no Aware
Specifics
Japan [2016] - 105 mins
Genre
Drama, Fantasy
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4.5

A mad mix of drama, fantasy and comedy. Gakuryu Ishii returns with a beautiful film that defies genre conventions and creates a world of its own. It's a handsome tribute to Ren Osugi and another stellar performance for Fumi Nikaido. Riveting cinema.

Isn't Anyone Alive? poster

Isn't Anyone Alive?

by Gakuryu Ishii
Also know as
Ikiteru Mono wa Inainoka
Specifics
Japan [2012] - 113 mins
Genre
Comedy, Mystery
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4.5

Ishii truly reinvents himself here and comes with a film that's just as unique as his previous work, only very different in tone.

Labyrinth of Dreams poster

Labyrinth of Dreams

by Gakuryu Ishii
Also know as
Yume no Ginga
Specifics
Japan [1997] - 90 mins
Genre
Mystery, Romance
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4.5

Those who really want to see the film will be required to be a little adventurous, but fans of Ishii and/or Asano would do good to go through the trouble.

The good stuff

Gojoe poster

Gojoe

by Gakuryu Ishii
Also know as
Gojo Reisenki: Gojoe
Specifics
Japan [2000] - 138 mins
Genre
Action, History
More info on
4.0
August in the Water poster

August in the Water

by Gakuryu Ishii
Also know as
Mizu no Naka no Hachigatsu
Specifics
Japan [1995] - 117 mins
Genre
Mystery
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4.0

Probably one of his most accessible films, though there is still plenty of wonder and authorship to be admired.

Burst City poster

Burst City

by Gakuryu Ishii
Also know as
Bakuretsu Toshi
Specifics
Japan [1982] - 115 mins
Genre
Action, Music, Sci-fi
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4.0

Solid pieces

Angel Dust poster

Angel Dust

by Gakuryu Ishii
Also know as
Enjeru Dasuto
Specifics
Japan [1994] - 116 mins
Genre
Drama, Horror, Romance, Thriller
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3.5
Tokyo Blood poster

Tokyo Blood

by Gakuryu Ishii
Specifics
Japan [1993] - 37 mins
Genre
Experimental, Drama
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3.5

A short but interesting anthology film where Ishii tepidly explores his more introverted self in 4 unrelated shorts. The punk influences are still there, but they flare up in short bursts and never truly climax. The quality is pretty consistent and there are moments of greatness here, but overall it's just a little too short and restrained to be truly impressive.

The Crazy Family poster

The Crazy Family

by Gakuryu Ishii
Also know as
Gyakufunsha Kazoku
Specifics
Japan [1984] - 106 mins
Genre
Comedy, Drama
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3.5
Shuffle poster

Shuffle

by Gakuryu Ishii
Specifics
Japan [1981] - 34 mins
Genre
Short, Cyberpunk
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3.5

An Ishii short that feels like a prelude to Tsukamoto's Tetsuo. The camera work isn't as manic or crazy as Tsukamoto's early masterpiece, but the soundtrack is absolutely stunning and makes this a tense and riveting experience. If it had been twice the length this could've been a masterpiece, but fans of Japanese cyberpunk cinema should definitely give this a go.

The inoffensive

Crazy Thunder Road poster

Crazy Thunder Road

by Gakuryu Ishii
Also know as
Kuruizaki Sanda Rodo
Specifics
Japan [1980] - 95 mins
Genre
Action
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3.0

Worthy but flawed

Panic in High School poster

Panic in High School

by Gakuryu Ishii, Yukihiro Sawada
Also know as
Koko Dai Panikku
Specifics
Japan [1978] - 94 mins
Genre
Drama
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2.5

Dubious filler

1/2 Man poster

1/2 Man

by Gakuryu Ishii
Also know as
1/2 Mensch
Specifics
Japan [1986] - 48 mins
Genre
Documentary, Music
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