Japanese indie directors who made their reputations in the 1970s and ’80s often have big gaps in their feature-film resumes. Sogo Ishii didn’t make a feature for 10 years following 1984’s “Gyakufunsha Kazoku (Crazy Family),”a groundbreaking black comedy. Mitsuo Yanagimachi, who burst onto the scene in 1976 with the legendary biker pic “Godspeed You! Black Emperor,” took a 13-year break after “Ai ni Tsuite Tokyo (All About Love, Tokyo)” in 1992, a gritty drama about Chinese students in Japan.
The record for the longest such hiatus must belong to Yoshihiko Matsui, who worked as an assistant director for Ishii before directing three indie films that were released between 1981 and 1988. The last, “Tsuito no Zawameki (Noisy Requiem),” made in 1986 but released two years later, was a black-and-white film set in Osaka’s down-and-out Shinseikai district. About a mad serial killer who disembowels his victims and stuffs their insides into a female mannequin, it became a love-it-or-hate-it underground sensation. Then Matsui, himself, went underground for 22 years.