Today’s question comes from reader Left_Wing_Fox, who wants to talk about Japanese anime director Satoshi Kon, who died this week from pancreatic cancer at the too-young age of 46. Hew few films include the wonderful Millennium Actress, the charming Tokyo Godfathers, and Paprika, his most recent film, which Christopher Nolan has cited as one of the inspirations for Inception, according to Empire Online.
The New York Times, in its obituary for Kon, quotes Susan J. Napier, anime expert and a professor of Japanese studies at Tufts University:
“He was part of a line of great Japanese humanist directors and writers”… In a telephone interview Wednesday, she linked Mr. Kon with Kurosawa, the great animator Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke”) and the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Kenzaburo Oe.
Mr. Kon, she said, combined their characteristic social and ethical concerns — including sympathy for outsiders and a belief in the redemptive power of love — with a mischievous and wildly inventive visual style.
And Kon himself had some final words for the world, which his wife has posted at his blog; it’s in Japanes, but a fan has translated it here. It’s long and heartbreaking about lots of personal stuff. And then he gets to his work, particularly the film that remained unfinished at his death:
My biggest regret is the film “Dreaming Machine”. I’m worried not only about the film itself, but the staff who I was able to work with on the film. After all, there’s a strong possiblity that the storyboards that were created by (our) blood, sweat and tears will never be seen. This is because Satoshi Kon put his arms around the original story, the script, the characters and the settings, the sketches, the music…every single image. Of course there are things that I shared with the animation director, the art director and other staff, but basically most of the work can only be understood by Satoshi Kon. It’s easy to say that it was my fault for arranging things this way, but from my point of view I made every effort to share my vision with others. However, in my current state I can only feel deep remorse for my inadequacies in these areas. I am really sorry to all of the staff. However, I want them to understand, if only a little bit. Satoshi Kon was “that kind of guy”, and, that’s why he was able to make rather weird anime that was a bit different. I know this is a selfish excuse, but think of my cancer and please forgive me.
Damn. Damn in about twelve different ways.
What will the legacy be of anime director Satoshi Kon? Will anyone finish that last film? Should anyone finish it?
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