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Gakuryu Ishii has made something of a career of confounding fans and critics alike with his big shifts in artistic direction, his long silences and, in 2010, his name change from the unusual, if memorable, Sogo to the pretentious, if still hard-to-forget, Gakuryu (a combination of the kanji for “mountain” and “dragon” better suited to a martial arts fighter than a reedy 56-year-old director).

Once an avatar of the Japanese punk movement — most notably for “Bakuretsu Toshi (Burst City, 1982),” a hyper-kinetic biker film set in a dark-future Tokyo that featured Japanese punk bands — Ishii re-emerged, after a decade-long hiatus, with some more poetic and spiritual films in the mid-1990s. These included “Mizu no Naka no Hachigatsu (August In the Water, 1995),” with its odd mix of teen love triangle, wispy apocalyptic storyline and enigmatic, if visually striking, water metaphors.

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