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Japan, 1994 (MIFF 2001, Electric Angels – The Films of Ishii Sogo)

Director: Ishii Sogo

A trip inside the mind of a serial killer, and the psychic investigator desperate to track him down and halt a murder spree. Angel Dust is a cat-and-mouse thriller that lives up to, and then surpasses, expectations. The American serial killer sub-genre has been run into the ground by shop-worn cliches and ludicrous plot twists but Ishii keeps things moving at a relentless pace, and not just in terms of storyline. His shock-cut editing, surreal cinematography and industrial strength score create an effect as if Dario Argento had been slipped an hallucinogenic mickey and then let loose with a camera in downtown Tokyo.

The film is awash in dazzling primary colours, multi-hued raindrops fall constantly and unknown assailants wilh eerie mechanical killing devices stalk gorgeous women in subways. Setsuko, prone to visions, suspects a former lover, Rei, as the culprit. Rei, an imposing figure working as a cult deprogrammer, is enigmatic, while exuding an air of overbearing menace. The tension between evidence and speculation rises to a crashing finale. "Ishii favors oblique mystery and a sense of mutable reality and makes his audience feel the same dislocation...a sophisticated exercise in style."—San Francisco Chronicle.

'Angel Dust is a psychotic, sensual nightmare where murder, romance and manga intersect. The resultant hybrid is visually and intellectually exhilarating."— Austin Chronicle

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