starlady: (king)
[personal profile] starlady
Tatsumi. Dir. Eric Khoo (2011).

This movie, which premiered at MoMA and screened at Cannes in 2011, is being released in Japan in November; I had the privilege of seeing it at a press screening this morning. The manga is the story of gekiga legend Yoshihiro Tatsumi, told both through his autobiography Gekiga Hyôryû | A Drifting Life and through some of his most famous gekiga stories. The movie goes beyond the timeframe of A Drifting Life, which ends in the 1960s, and the animation is quite thoughtfully done; although it's not quite like manga brought to life, it does succeed in replicating Tatsumi's style in another medium, and at being attentive to effects like texture, color, depth and sound in bringing the manga to life on film.

Khoo is Singaporean; Tatsumi is Japanese; the animators were Indonesian; it's an international effort to bring to life something that is quite firmly rooted in the Japanese postwar. Although the criticisms of Tatsumi's work can also be leveled at the film--principally, as far as I'm concerned, both the quantity and type of female characters--it's true that unlike the characters of his more famous friend and rival Tezuka Osamu, Tatsumi's characters have interiority, and even when they're ridiculous or terrible, their stories are often quite moving. The animation is moving too. It's a very good film, warts and all, and as an added bonus, it features quite authentic Kansai-ben, which you certainly don't hear everyday.

In some ways, I was actually reminded of the excellent Studio Ghibli AMV Creating Something Beautiful. If you have the chance, both the AMV and the film are well worth watching.

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