Sunday, November 09, 2008


Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 8 Nov 2008. Mr. Satoshi Kon spoke Japanese, expertly translated into Finnish by Mr. Aleksi Järvelä. There were many previously prepared questions from the audience, and a number of questions in the two-hour-plus session, in addition. - Mentioning a film of his (Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, Paprika) for the first time Mr. Kon asked whether anyone from the audience had seen them, and, happily impressed by the good show of hands, stood up and bowed in gratitude. - Summing up Mr. Kon's comments: "I started with manga, but manga did not sell, so I switched to anime, and the transition was easy. The big difference is that there is a large group of people involved in anime. It is dialogue, it is speaking about images, exchanging thoughts. I had never considered myself as a social person, but it turned out to be the other way around. Anime is being closely followed. There is a lot of mediocre anime. The best anime is created when there is a small compact group involved. It pays to focus on quality."
"My first feature Perfect Blue is based on a novel I had not read myself. About the star and the fan who becomes a stalker. We go inside senses, adopting the first person view of the protagonist. - Anime involves a terrifying amount of images. - In Japan, painting is highly appreciated. - One has to fight for one's position."
About fantastic milieux. "Many critics don't understand anything about making movies. - My starting point is to create fantasy out of the ordinary. - A lot of ideas get discarded. - I develop a web and continuum of ideas. - Paprika was a different process. - Imagery and design are on the forefront. - Usually my starting point is quite realistic, but there are hallucinations involved. - In Paprika, hallucinations dominate. - An unusual parade. - Today reality is emphasized more, and less attention is paid to dreams."
"In my movies, I don't use much the computer, maybe one fifth of the film is computer-generated. It is about the budget: the CG effects are more expensive. Drawing by hand is much cheaper. - Then there is the post-production and the subsidiary production. - In animation, there is not one right way to think."
"I have used my good composer consistently."
"The question of fact/fiction is basic but not all-encompassing".
Do you get mail from people who have had similar experiences of blurring reality and fantasy? "Yes, and sometimes the blurring has become a problem. It can be scary. I don't know whether these persons should watch these films."
Is there a message or vision? "I have to explain a lot, as if I were a radio with non-stop talk. There is none. But one can find ideas hidden in different layers, and it is the viewer's task to find them."
Strong female characters such as Paprika. "As in biology, my characters start as females, but they can transform into men. - The biggest battle I had with the strong female character in Millennium Actress. - The most difficult was Perfect Blue, as the budget was minuscule. - Easy have none of them been."

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