[Japanese Indie Films] Ishii Gakuryu releasing his first feature-length film in 10 years

Posted on by Jin

New film by Ishii Gakuryu Ikiterumono wa inainoka

World renowned Japanese independent filmmaker, Ishii Gakuryu, is returning to the big screen for the first time in ten years with his new film Ikiterumono wa Inainoka. Japan Flix takes a look at the new trailer.

Ikiterumono wa inainoka stills

First of all, who is Ishii Gakuryu? Formerly known as Ishii Sogo, Ishii is a filmmaker of the Japanese New Wave. He debuted with his 8mm student film Koukou Dai Panic. In the ’80s, his stylish punk films Crazy Thunder Road (1980), Burst City (1980), and The Crazy Family (1984) won him worldwide acclaim. More recently his filmography includes Angel Dust (1994), August in the Water (1995), Labyrinth of Dreams (1997), the samurai epic Gojoe: Spirit War Chronicle (2000), and the low-budget black and white 50 minute short Electric Dragon 80.000 V (2001). His films are typically high-paced, visually impressive, and genre-defying.

Ikiterumono wa Inainoka is Ishii’s long-awaited triumphant return to feature-length films. Ikiterumono is an adaptation of a comedy play written by young, up-and-coming writer Maeda Shiro. The film is set in a college campus as a strange urban legend spreads. One by one, the 18 protagonists come to meet strange “ends.”

Overall, Ikiterumono is creepy, eerie, and oddly humorous. The screenplay is filled with nonsensical comedy and combines with Ishii’s characteristic punk style. According to press materials, the film presses the audience to profoundly question the relationship between life and death.

Ikiterumono ha inainoka stills

The trailer introduces us to the weird characters and situations the film will present: News of a train driver inexplicably passing out while operating his train, a boy confronted by his two girlfriends, a brother and sister reuniting, a famous idol on the college campus clutching his butt, an elevator that never comes, and characters suddenly dying in crazy fits. The title cards ask, “When urban legends come true and the world ends, what’s most important? Love? Friendship? Dance? Probably love? Is this punk or is this just a gag?”

So far, the film looks promising. The trailer is reminiscent of Higuchinsky’s creepy 2000 horror Uzumaki. Overall, you can’t help but wonder what the hell is going on in this trailer and you’ll want to see the film to find out. However, as a last note, the film also shows potential for becoming M. Night Shyamalan’s terrible 2008 sci-fi thriller, The Happening.

Ikiterumono wa Inainoka hits theaters in Japan on February 18th. Let us know what you think of the trailer or the film in general in the comments below.


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