Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Quintessential Vaporwave

August in the Water (1995) - Ishii Screen Shot 2022-01-05 at 8.14.40 AM Screen Shot 2022-01-05 at 11.43.45 AM Screen Shot 2022-01-05 at 8.50.05 AM Screen Shot 2022-01-05 at 11.48.26 AMScreen Shot 2022-01-05 at 8.51.23 AM Screen Shot 2022-01-05 at 9.05.40 AM Screen Shot 2022-01-05 at 9.08.36 AM Screen Shot 2022-01-05 at 9.15.44 AM Screen Shot 2022-01-05 at 9.19.49 AM Screen Shot 2022-01-05 at 9.37.13 AM Screen Shot 2022-01-05 at 9.39.02 AM Supernova in a distant gallaxy causes a disturbance in alignment of the planets and two meteors falls on Mt. Hiko, creating large magnetic field. The city of Fukuoka is suffering from sever draught and many people are experiencing illness where their organs are 'turning to stone'. Izumi (Rena Komine) is a high school diving champ who just transferred to Fukuoka. She befriends Mao and Ukiya, two boys who are smitten by her after she plunges herself into the dolphin pool in the aquarium. Ukiya's tomboy friend Miki, who has a firm handle on everything computer, informs the boys that according to the computer calculations regarding Izumi's zodiac signs, she will be experiencing physical danger on the day of the diving competition. So the day comes, and just before Izumi takes a dive, she complains that water feels hard as a rock and she falls into a coma right after she hits the water.

After she wakes up from the coma and recouperating, she tells Mao that she senses everything around her differently like a new born baby. She can communicate with nature telepatically, including dolphins. She sleepwalks to the large petrograph rock in Mt. Hiko with stolen meteorites.

The grand theme of all life on earth originated from somewhere else in the universe and technology taking over the human form (computer chips for human consciousness, therefore we don't need physical bodies), the film charts very much the William Gibson, JG Ballard territory, yet very Japanese.

Mixing New Age spirituality, animism, astrophysics and advancement in technology, Gakuryu Ishii's trippy 90's relic, August in the Water can be seen as the quintessential film for vaporwave - the synth tinged soundtrack, dolphins, rainbows, dated computer graphics, aliens, etc.

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