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LABYRINTH OF DREAMS

Japan, 1997 (MIFF 2001, Electric Angels - The Films of Ishii Sogo)

Director: Ishii Sogo

Tickets go cheap on the bus ride to hell. Tomiko is an over-worked conductor on a rural bus line. She receives a disturbing letter from a friend and co­worker claiming that Tomiko's former driver, Niitaka, is planning to kill her. What's more, she may not be his first victim. What Tomiko dismisses as a joke looks like becoming grim reality when her friend turns up dead and Niitaka seeks a transfer to Tomiko's route!

The film's grainy black and white photography looms like a dark cloud over the story. An atmosphere of dread pervades even the day to day activities of running the bus company. Tomiko is drawn into a fateful whirlpool as she initially plots revenge and then, perversely, finds herself curiously attracted to the suspected multiple murderer.

Ishii tones down his usual breakneck pace for this moody study of morbid desire and the machinations of a calculating assassin.

"A testimony to true spirit of maverick cinema. Labyrinth of Dreams, is an extremely stylish mystery. We are drawn immediately into Tomika's nightmarish world through Ishii's masterful direction and ability to create remarkable characters. Norimichi Kasamatsu's brilliant black-and-white cinematography also lends itself beautifully to creating indelible images.''—Cinequest

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