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Satoshi Kon 1963-2010

Terrible news from Japan: the anime director Satoshi Kon, one of that medium’s true artists, has died at the age of 47, reportedly from cancer. He was a brilliant filmmaker — “Perfect Blue,” “Millennium Actress,” “Tokyo Godfathers,” “Paranoia Agent,” “Paprika” — with decades of work ahead of him. He leaves behind an unfinished feature, “The Dream Machine,” , which he described as a road movie for robots (that’s a still above). Here’s an early obit from Simon Abrams in the New York Press, and here’s the last interview I did with him for the New York Times, from May, 2007.

13 comments to Satoshi Kon 1963-2010

  • I did an interesting interview with him in 2007… I sent him some questions through a translator and he sent me back eight dense pages of answers. Really cool. I put an excerpt from it here:

  • Oliver_C

    Now I regret even more missing a chance to see ‘Tokyo Godfathers’, released back when I was in Japan.


  • This cannot be. He’ll be missed as one of anime’s great masters. Sad news indeed. RIP!!

  • Johan Andreasson

    TOKYO GODFATHERS is really good. It’s about three homeless people in Tokyo who find an abandoned baby that they must take care of during Christmas, and I think it’s meant as a modern version of John Ford’s 3 GODFATHERS. Satoshi Kon must have believed in the equal value of religions, because in the same way that he talks about the animistic traditions in PAPRIKA (which I haven’t seen) in the NY Times interview, the Christian message with Jesus and the three wise men is very clearly spelled out in TOKYO GODFATHERS.

  • That 3 Godfathers story sure has some legs – heck when Ford made his terrific version it was something like the 6th take on a story from Peter B. Kyne. Though the only other one I’ve seen is Wyler’s “Hell’s Heroes” which I thought was fairly solid.

    RIP Satoshi Kon

  • Apparently Kon had pancreatic cancer, which was diagnosed only a few months ago (in May).

    Apparently his production company promised Kon that it would make sure his film in progress got made and released.

    My favorite film by Kon was Millennium Actress (his “sort of inspired by Setsuko Hara” film).

  • Tom Brueggemann

    Another recented passing –

    Bruno S (full name – Bruno Schleinstein)., cast by Werner Herzog in both Kaspar Hauser and Stroszek, died a couple weeks. He was 78.

  • Bruno S? Oh, hell.

    I’m not a huge fan of Kon, but he did good work. Paranoia Agent might be his most interesting (it suggests levels of reality Nolan doesn’t seem to have even begun to consider exploring), I think Michael K’s suggestion of Millenium Actress as a sentimental favorite is a good one.

  • Thank you for this, Mr. Kehr. The moment I saw “Paprika” I was keen to share it with my students, which I now do as the last film of the semester (in conjunction w. D. Bordwell’s “The Art Cinema as a Mode of Film Practice”). It is so movie mad and so full of movie love and lore that it serves as a valedictory for the students, who “get” the bits about eyeline matches, etc. in a way that would have eluded them only a few months earlier. I am glad to know that “Paprika” is not Kon’s valedictory, and that we can look forward to “The Dream Machine” as one last visit with such a fecund and playful cinematic mind.

  • Sadly, another Japanese animation master has died this week–Kihachiro Kawamoto. If you haven’t seen his stop-motion work, it’s very impressive.

  • Very sad indeed.

    I wrote my own tribute and overview of his career here:

    The still from DREAM MACHINE reminds me of METROPOLIS by Rintaro.

  • Ani

    Very sad. He has some great work