Satoshi Kon: Beyond Imagination
June 27 – July 1, 2008
“One of the current masters of Japanese anime and one of Japan’s best working filmmakers in any genre” – Dave Kehr, The New York Times
"Easily the most interesting anime director working today whose name isn't Hayao Miyazaki, Kon specializes in envelope-pushing existential toons that take place in the nether regions of human consciousness. Check out his brief but oh-so-potent filmography to date." - Time Out New York
"From Perfect Blue to Paprika, Kon has fleshed out a niche in the anime world that is as maddeningly creative as it is giddily strange. They’re like miraculous acid trips that turn the world inside out and leave behind a slimy, gnarled wake of candy-coated destruction." - Simon Abrams, New York Press
"MAY JUST BE JAPAN’S GREATEST LIVING ANIMATION DIRECTOR... Currently at the height of his powers. If you haven't seen Perfect Blue or Paprika you should rush right out and do so." - Grady Hendrix, Variety Asia
We’re delighted to welcome Satoshi Kon to the Walter Reade Theater for this complete mid-career retrospective of his work as a director. We're screening all four of his feature films, as well as the animator’s cult-favorite television series Paranoia Agent. Following the 6:15pm screening of Paprika on Friday, June 27, Kon will join in an onstage conversation with Film Society program director Richard Peña. Additionally, an exhibition of the animator’s artwork will be on display in the Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery, adjacent to the Walter Reade Theater lobby, from June 27 through July 15.
Since making his debut as a director in 1997 with Perfect Blue, Satoshi Kon has emerged as one of the world’s most remarkable cinematic talents. His film, described by some as “Hitchcock does anime,” was just the first indication of the kind of conceptual and narrative sophistication that has come to characterize the director’s work—from psycho-thriller to contemporary social melodrama (Tokyo Godfathers); from an anthology of Japanese cinema (Millennium Actress) to a meditation on the fragmentation of Japanese life (Paprika). He has thus far worked strictly in the animated form, and perhaps as a result, his work has not made the impact or received the acclaim it so richly deserves.
Yet, imagining his work as anything but anime is hard to do: All four of his films — as well as the cult-favorite television series Paranoia Agent, which we will screen in its entirety — develop a contextual fluidity that allows people and things to inhabitant several different planes of meaning at the same time. The visual style is deceptively simple; it’s only over the course of a film that its depths, layers and traps are revealed.
Satoshi Kon, born in Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan, in 1963, studied at the Musashino College of the Arts and worked with noted artist and director Katsuhiro Ôtomo as both a manga illustrator and, later, key art animator on Ôtomo’s 1991 science fiction comedy Rôjin Z. Four years later, Kon wrote the “Magnetic Rose” segment of the omnibus animated feature Memories. A story of astronauts who become trapped within ghostly reenactments of the life of an entombed opera singer, the script — and its more literally translated title, “Her Memories” — “succinctly summarizes the entirety of Kon’s oeuvre,” wrote author and Japanese film scholar Tom Mes in Film Comment (March/April 2007) - “Memories, like dreams, become directly accessible environments for his protagonists to explore and get lost and found in.”
Calendar to view the schedule & to purchase tickets online. Please note: there is a $1.25 service charge per ticket ordered online.
Read Requiem for a Dream ~ Tom Mes' article about Satoshi Kon from Film Comment March/April 2007, Satoshi Kon's Theory of Animation by Grady Hendrix, The New York Sun as well as interviews with Satoshi Kon by Jason Gray & by Tom Mes on Midnight Eye. Click here for more biographical information from the All Movie Guide with associated links to reviews in The New York Times.
Satoshi Kon: Beyond Imagination was organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and programmed by Richard Peña.
Special thanks to Taro Morishima and Madhouse for their help in arranging this series. Generous support has been provided by the Japan Foundation of New York and ANA All Nippon Airways.