Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Double Feature

I'm no longer surprised when I don't recognize faces from the "animation community" at special screenings of animated films.

Even without representatives from that crowd, the in memorium screenings of Satoshi Kon's "Perfect Blue" and "Paprika" last Wednesday at the Walter Reade Theater were fairly well attended.  Not the sellouts they should have been, but respectable houses.

This postcard which was distributed at a memorial service in Japan was given to the audience.

"Perfect Blue" remains a far from perfect film.  It suffers from poor animation and rookie pacing.  The opening sequence, for instance, is cut languidly when it wants to be upbeat.   The dialogue (mostly overheard phrases) should overlap and construct a more frenetic scene.

Even so, it's a good film.  Exciting mostly for its heady script and general smarts.

"Paprika", though, here is a masterpiece.  It's absolutely heartbreaking that Satoshi Kon was unable to complete another film after this.

There's a remarkably human scene towards the end which stands as one of my favorite moments on film.  The sequence cuts from the "current" with the giants and the robot to the "past" in the elevator/lobby.

Sitting on the floor in the dark, it's a remarkably human moment (recalling the Billy Bragg lyric: "Most important decisions in life are made between two people in bed") and an honest "real" conversation.  The dialogue is direct -"You're fat, slow and sloppy" but at the same time talking around the subject.

The problems of pacing, design and animation evident in "Perfect Blue" are long corrected.  It's really very sad we won't hear more of his voice.

1 comment:

Michael Sporn said...

Thanks for your tribute, here, after the memorial. I was a fan of him and am still a fan of his work. I have anything that's been available on dvd. He was am individual in the animation world, yet one wouldn't have suspected that on meeting him.

I'm so grateful to the Walter Reade Theater for the retrospective they gave him when he was alive. It gave me the opportunity of interviewing him, though the interpreter supplied was incapable of properly interpreting his words. surrounded by his stunning artwork, I was still able to feel the person.