Friday, August 27, 2010

Satoshi Kon [1963-2010]

Anime Director par excellence and more importantly filmmaker Satoshi Kon passed away on August 24, 2010. Kon is best known as a filmmaker working within the world of anime-styled animation. His love for the art form resulted in a loyalty to animation through a studio group dubbed Studio Madhouse. With anime as his genre of choice, Kon was very much a director of film and story with a handle on narrative structure, some linear and some non-linear, combined with fluid, colorful animation that held him in acclaimed company. He had a handle in anime that placed him squarely amidst the talents of Hayao Miyazaki [My Neighbor Totoro, Howl's Moving Castle], Mamoru Oshii [Ghost In The Shell, Patlabor] and Isao Takahata [Grave Of The Fireflies, Only Yesterday].

Like many anime directors, Kon first honed his craft by cutting his teeth, concepts and ideas within the medium of manga. This eventually led to scriptwriting. His work led to a collaborative film called Memories whereby Kon provided script chores on Magnetic Rose. His directorial debut came with Perfect Blue [1997] followed by the gorgeous Millennium Actress [2001], Tokyo Godfathers [2003], Paprika [2006] and a TV Series called Paranoia Agent [2004].
Kon's ethereal, lovely production, Millennium Actress, is a particularly moving, dreamy tale. It remains a favorite that I hope to post here soon as a tribute to the man who clearly left the world of animation far too soon. Kon died following a battle with pancreatic cancer at the ripe young age of 47. Anime and film lost a very special artist that day. He was a man who told stories and ideas through beautiful images and color. This is one of the things I most admired. He may not have reached the largest audience, but it says nothing of his bold and beautiful work and contribution to cinema.
"With feelings of gratitude for all that is good in this world, I put down my pen. Well, I'll be leaving now." -Satoshi Kon-
If those aren't the words of a class gentleman -then I don't know what are. Make the most of your life, because Satoshi Kon is a prime example of just how fleeting and fragile it can be.


le0pard13 said...

This is a great tribute, SFF. I haven't seen any of his work, but if his talent was in the Miyazaki, Oshii, or Takahata range, then we've lost a giant. I hope to catch up with his work soon, and I look forward to your future post on Millennium Actress, my friend. Thanks for this.

SFF said...

Thanks L13. I certainly haven't seen everything by him, but I've seen a few films and the quality of his work ranks among they the heavyweights.

I definitely will do that Millennium Actress. It's a beauty. Thanks my friend.