Sunday, August 29, 2010

Satoshi Kon (1963-2010)

Two years ago, I took the opportunity to see anime filmmaker Satoshi Kon at the Lincoln Film Center in New York City. They were showing his movies, and that night, he appeared for a Q&A after a screening of Paprika. He came out with a camera, and proceeded to photograph the audience. Through his translator, he proclaimed he liked rearranging positions, and in this case, he was observing the audience.

Satoshi Kon passed away this week, on Tuesday August 24 2010. He was 46 years old. The news came to me, as well as many other admirers, as a terrible shock.

I have seen all four of his movies, and had only recently started watching his anime series, Paranoia Agent. I was seeing a lot of stuff for the first time while at college, and among it were the movies Perfect Blue and Tokyo Godfathers. Needless to say, I was blown away by both of them. At the time, I was still slow to accept anime, with the exception of Hayao Miyazaki. But someone told me that Satoshi Kon was just as unique as Miyazaki, so I went on a hunch. And I'm glad I did. His movies are filled realistic images (too realistic by animation standards) being disrupted by surrealistic and dreamlike occurrences and disturbances. I immediately likened him to David Lynch, in terms of writing. He has a real talent of directing stories that enchant the audience with psychologically complex stories, in spite of the incoherent nature of the writing. And yet through all the drama, there is plenty of visual treats and edgy humor to balance the movies out. Very impressive.

My heart goes out to Satoshi Kon's family. Thank you for the magic, Sweet Prince.

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