Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist (2021)


The mangaka, animation filmmaker and cult director Satoshi Kon died suddenly of cancer on 24 August 2010 at the age of 46. He left behind a short and unfinished body of work that is nonetheless among the most widespread and influential in the history of contemporary Japanese culture.

Ten years after his death, his family and collaborators are finally talking about his work, while his heirs in Japan, France and Hollywood review his artistic legacy. Satoshi Kon, the Illusionist evokes the career of a reclusive author whose life was dedicated to comics and animation for adults.

An 82-minute documentary directed by French filmmaker and screenwriter Pascal-Alex Vincent and co-produced by Eurospace, Genco, Carlotta Films and Allerton Films, with the support of the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Government of Japan, it premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.

Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist (2021)

About the author

Satoshi Kon was born on 12 October 1963 in Hokkaido, Japan.

He graduated from Kushiro Koryo High School in Hokkaido and then entered the Department of Visual Communication Design at Musashino Art University.

In the mid-1980s he debuted as a manga artist in Young Magazine (Kodansha) and in the early 1990s he released his first book, Return to the Sea, published by Kodansha and participated in the first animation project in "Old Man Z" as art director and set designer. Although Kon had previously written the script for Otomo's live-action black comedy World Apartment Horror, Roujin Z was the first anime he worked on.

He was the author of several comics, a TV series and four feature films

On his personal website there was a post entitled "Goodbye" with his last message in which he told how he received the news of his illness

Unforgettable 18th May this year.
I received the following diagnosis from a cardiologist at the Musashino Red Cross Hospital.
"End-stage pancreatic cancer, with metastases in various parts of the bones. He has at most six months to live."
My wife and I heard it together. It was such a sudden and unreasonable fate that we could not accept it with our arms folded.
I had always thought this with all my heart.
'It doesn't matter when I die'.
But it was so sudden.

In his last message, among many other things, he talks about his will and the rights to his work.

I have also been working on 'preparing for a proper death'. I haven't been able to get it quite right.
One of those things was to set up a company, with the help of two trusted friends, to manage Satoshi Kon's copyrights and other rights, however ephemeral they may be.
The other was to make a will so that the assets, though not many, could pass smoothly to my wife. Of course, there is no need for an inheritance dispute to get complicated, but I want to eliminate at least one of my wife's worries before she leaves this world, and this will bring me peace of mind when I go a little further away.

In his extensive final text he states that he would later sign the will in a daze and in a critical state due to pneumonia, and takes the opportunity to thank and say goodbye to various people, entities and friends

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