Satoshi Kon 1963-2010
I have been meaning to make a post of this ever since it happened but I wanted to be sure on specifics and obtain more info before I did. However, after reading what I'm about to share with you, I feel that now is as good of a time as ever. I would like to apologize for how jumbled this may seem, but it is hard to think straight at the moment.
On Tuesday, August 24th, 2010, in my eyes, one of the greatest animation directors of our time passed on into the next world. Satoshi Kon was at the young age of 46 when he died, to the surprise of many, due to pancreatic cancer.
I could go on an on about why I love his films, and which one is my favorite (Millennium Actress), and how Perfect Blue was one of the films that inspired me to do what I do today- but instead I would like to point your attention to his farewell letter. Before he left us, Satoshi Kon wrote a rambling letter (which has been so generously, and nicely, translated by makikoito.com) to his friends and family.
I urge- even beg all of you to read this letter as it is a beautiful look into the mind of someone who has come into the realization that they have so little time left on earth. About half way through I began to cry, it felt like I was watching him slowly die (as it is a long letter) but cruelly sitting back and doing nothing to stop his inevitable fate. The letter was posthumously posted on his blog for those of you who can read Japanese. But if you need an english translation, you can go here; Makiko Ito has also provided some translation notes for things that may seem confusing.
My classmates and I were incredibly fortunate to have met Satoshi Kon when his film Paprika appeared a couple of years ago, and listening to him speak was like admiring a vast amazing landscape; all you can do is stare, and hope that you remember every last detail when it's time to leave.
For those of you who are wondering what will happen to his film due out soon Dream Machine, we can only sense a bittersweet emotion in that if it is completed will it truly be his work? But if not, we can only speculate as to what wonders it would have shown us.
In the end he chose to gracefully leave us and this world behind him. And while his final sentence may read to be a casual goodbye, it hits you as profoundly and sturdily as the gravity that draws our feet to the ground:
Well, I must be leaving now.
(You can read a nice brief obituary at the NYTimes website)