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¶ SWAP: 水の中の八月 / August in the Water (Ishii, 1995)

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Perception de Ambiguity
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¶ SWAP: 水の中の八月 / August in the Water (Ishii, 1995)

#1

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

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~ 水の中の八月 / August in the Water / Mizu no naka no hachigatsu (Sogo Ishii/石井岳龍/Gakuryu Ishii, 1995) ~

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Though, cryptic enough in wording, there shalt be spoilerinos. Thou hast been warned.

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A boy's love transforms a dolphin into a creature of the air with a girl's butt that boys love. The airborne dolphin (=イルカ/Iruka in Japanese) quickly develops a sensitivity against her previous element, so much so that water becomes a deadly pain; water, hard as stone.
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Having made this realization - not by her own choice - Jesus dolphin...
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...consequently develops an ability and a yearning to connect to man's God, a cosmological interaction with the stone world, source of man, so far away, yet so close. The time to act is now, she knows, as her being transcends to the next stage, UFO or not,...
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...bringing water aplenty back to Earth, to give humanity in their present form a little more life.
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After this the boy continues his air-water based existence obsessing over carbon-based life, living full and long enough to have become an old fuck who spent it doing semi-valuable work, inspired, no less, by the brief Iruka-encounter early in his life, before he too, such is the destiny of us all, inevitably returns to the stone age.

Randomites:

Deflated football turns to stone as the earth dries up in a subtle enough transition, seen very early into the film.
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Happiness is a comparative circumstance, a matter of perceived enhancement over the previous state. It's the little things that make up life's pleasures.
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There's a shaking of the image between each cut that was a source of fascination for me in this film. Each scene ends and begins with this little shake, apparently, for two frames or whatever, and I guess I have often seen this in other films, but consciously by and large in much older films, films up to the 1940's, if even that late. Something to do with the particular techniques used to edit the films, I guess. Although not even in those I saw it with such consistency. It doesn't seem likely to have been something specific to this DVD transfer only, although I also wouldn't bet on it having been a deliberate choice by the filmmaker either, as a means to add to the film's sense of strangeness. In some instances it created an effect of image doubling or temporal shift for me, like reality stutters and skips a second for one tiny beat before transitioning to the next scene. This effect didn't make the film for me, just felt like mentioning that I noticed it.

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Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on November 25th, 2019, 8:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Carmel1379
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#2

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“He thought that it must be a feeling of endless bliss to be in contact with the profound life of every form, to have a soul for rocks, metals, water, and plants, to take into himself, as in a dream, every element of nature, like flowers that breathe with the waxing and waning of the moon”
Yes, I said to myself, I too love everything that flows: rivers, sewers, lava, semen, blood, bile, words, sentences. I love the amniotic fluid when it spills out of the bag. I love the kidney with its painful gall-stones, its gravel and what-not: I love the urine that pours out scalding and the clap that runs endlessly; I love the words of hysterics and the sentences that flow on like dysentry and mirror all the sick images of the soul; I love the great rivers like the Amazon and the Orinoco, where crazy men like Moravagine float on through dream and legend in an open boat and drown in the blind mouths of the river. I love everything that flows, even the menstrual flow that carries away the seed unfecund. I love scripts that flow, be they hieratic, esoteric, perverse, polymorph, or unilateral. I love everything that flows, everything that has time in it and becoming, which brings us back to the beginning where there is never end the violence of the prophets, the obscenity that is ecstasy, the wisdom of the fanatic, the priest with his rubber litany, the foul words of the whore, the spittle that floats away in the gutter, the milk of the breast and the bitter honey that pours from the womb, all that is fluid, melting, dissolute and dissolvent, all the pus and dirt that in flowing is purified, that loses its sense of origin, that makes the great circuit towards death and dissolution
I love… this smell of the water evaporating.

“Do you know things are happening in the Universe?” It’s a blast.

With enough energy anything can break down. Stars explode, meteoroids shatter during their brief bright passage through Earth’s atmosphere, falling bodies rip apart on impact with any surface. They say water turns to concrete when you jump down from too high up.

Fragments will continue to drift on. The chemical elements formed and ejected during supernovae enter into newer compositions and movements. Meteorites have had another happy landing, communing with the rocks already present within this gravity well, their arrangements obscurely interplaying with planetary positions, esoteric prophecies, ritualistic diagrams, whispering of the return of the stone, the weighty, the durable, perfect in its deathly rigidity, an alien monopolising civilisation erecting itself through humanity’s concrete roads and skyscrapers consuming nature's resources (without giving nature anything back), while hacking individuals from within, withering the organs, solidifying, ordering all particles in packed lattices, as immovable coordinates, with discrete fixed connections. A bad omen? But I love the ancient stones too. Their patience and palpability are appreciated, while relative invariance can be comforting in the midst of universal impermanence. Touching a stone wall or a wooden school-desk, yet another prompt real sensation tickling consciousness into wondering about the fuzzy boundaries, materiality, erosion.

One can trip over a stone like Mao, falling in love with Izumi. His devotion is infallible, protective instincts bang on, motorbike always ready. Perhaps his touch even awoke her comatose body, or possibly allowed him to enter her mirrored mind, to continue following Izumi along her strange paths, ethereal wanderings, and nature explorations, her reinvigorated and intensified interconnection with the world and cultivation of the senses. When she’s lost, he’ll visit all those precious familiar places of shared experiences again, unerring in the commitment to find her. He will study her diaries for more than a lifetime, attempting to map her deeper understanding of the occult order of nature.

But nothing can ever enable him to truly know her. He fell into a rain puddle, while Izumi was performing acrobatic diving, overcoming fear and free falling from great heights into an unknowability too profound for dear True Fish who can’t swim. Psychiatrists called it schizophrenia, but what do those puny characters know about dolphin communication or self-sacrificing for the restoration of balance between water and stone within the universe so that people can flush their toilets..


++

The Festival. A torrent of people gushing through the streets, carrying the vindicating podia with spiritual healers or shrines, ecstatically effusing sweat, tears, joy

The Rooftops. What is it with Japanese schools and skiving students being able to access the roof, talk and look for UFOs

The Shimmering
Last edited by Carmel1379 on November 25th, 2019, 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
arittake no (yume (nikki)) & I suppose I’ll have to add the force of gravity to my list of enemies
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#3

Post by Carmel1379 »

Perception de Ambiguity wrote: November 25th, 2019, 3:43 amThere's a shaking of the image between each cut that was a source of fascination for me in this film. Each scene ends and begins with this little shake, apparently, for two frames or whatever, and I guess I have often seen this in other films, but consciously by and large in much older films, films up to the 1940's, if even that late. Something to do with the particular techniques used to edit the films, I guess. Although not even in those I saw it with such consistency. It doesn't seem likely to have been something specific to this DVD transfer only, although I also wouldn't bet on it having been a deliberate choice by the filmmaker either, as a means to add to the film's sense of strangeness. In some instances it created an effect of image doubling or temporal shift for me, like reality stutters and skips a second for one tiny beat before transitioning to the next scene. This effect didn't make the film for me, just felt like mentioning that I noticed it.
Tastily ties in with Ishii's overall aesthetics sensibilities, fondness for the iridescent and lights whose intensity blurs volumes, whether in hazy sun-bleached streets, equally hazy nocturnal urban spaces, or rooms as in '鏡心 m i r r o r e d m i n d', creating this palpable dreamlike and meditative atmosphere, which is just realistic perception anyway..

Have you seen 'Tokyo Blood'? Its 4th segment features many rocks too
arittake no (yume (nikki)) & I suppose I’ll have to add the force of gravity to my list of enemies
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#4

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

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Tree-hugging dolphin in progress.

Seen 'Tokyo Blood'. Guess I just wasn't riding the right wave, liked it OK, but felt like a let-down so soon after seeing 鏡心 m i r r o r e d m i n d and even 'The Master of Shiatsu' which I saw twixt. I was drawn to the more ecstatic sections of it during my viewing of it, so the first segment especially. There was something to segment three, too. True, the connections between this one, 鏡心 m i r r o r e d m i n d and 'Tokyo Blood' are strong. The final segment of 'Tokyo Blood' I don't recollect too well, the dolphin-stone mythology apparently resonated more for me in the "August" package. The scene with the psychiatrist of watching the interview with Izumi on the TV against the almost identical-windowed background especially gave me flashbacks of the (to us Lynch-ephiles, no doubt) INLAND EMPIRE-esque meta-fiction scene in 'Mirrored Mind'.
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And of course: the water that mirrors and seems to defy gravity and bends space-time
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An initial draw, apart from summer air and getting away from human-centricity in narrative film, were possible similarities to other great Japanese rain/water films. Naturally 'A Snake of June'...,
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...and the indeed very watery, wet, and also rather esoteric and blue 'Woman of Water' (2002). Connections to Tsukamoto in general are strong, of course. 'Vital' came to mind one or two times, the in-depth study of one particular part of existence as a gateway to transcend life and death, present and past. A more unexpected association would be Ben Rivers + Ben Russell. Probably in particular in its echos of 'A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness', earthly and occult, combined with droning soundscapes that are not as often Chu Ishikawa than they are black metal.

let the bodies hit the floor

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We do not have to understand new things, but by dint of patience, effort and method to come to understand with our whole self the truths which are evident.Image
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#5

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Tokyo Blood - The stones in the 4th segment are 'In the Tall Grass'-like vessels of God's voice / life-changing drugs, "people became able to resonate with others like a form of mutual telepathy", so a religion of the stone quickly spreads, and that eventually bleeds over into the stone disease, a transformation of water-bodies into robotics and computers, and then eventually the personal journey of rekindling the will-to-live and becoming in touch with everything ("And, like a paramecium that is beyond the light's reach, yet still in sync with the cycle of the sun, so does my stone self live in rhythm with the sun and the universe. I feel the joy of being a child of the sun and the universe."). Couldn't ask for a better prelude to 'August in the Water'.

I've had the same film connections, apart from 'Woman of Water', which is new to me, and 'A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness', which totally makes sense; intensive voyages in nature always do.

The film's goofy side -- and especially Mao's astrology-trusting easy-going friend -- made me think of 'Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer''s vibe and characters, its similar blend of light-hearted coming-of-age wackiness, an equally outlandish apocalyptic scenario, bizarre dream topologies, and lots of water activities. I also briefly thought of 'Making a Splash' and 'Olympia 2' for the extended acrobatic diving sequences. I've never been much of a swimmer or diver myself, so seeing these feats is always appealing.

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Keep it rainy

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arittake no (yume (nikki)) & I suppose I’ll have to add the force of gravity to my list of enemies
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