Cannes 2011: Tatsumi by Eric Khoo
Let’s continue our little chat about the movies that will compete in Un Certain Regard category at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
It’s time for a project that comes from director Eric Khoo, titled simply Tatsumi, and already described as “an animated feature film tribute to Japanese animator hero Yoshihiro Tatsumi.”
So, Tatsumi celebrates the life and work of Japanese comics artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi.
In post-war occupied Japan, young Tatsumi’s passion for comics eventually becomes a means of supporting his poor family. Already published as a teenager, talented Tatsumi finds even greater inspiration after meeting his idol, famous Disneyesque animator Osamu Tezuka.
Despite his steady success, Tatsumi begins to question why Japanese comics should cater to children with cute and whimsical tales and drawings. In 1957, Tatsumi coins the term gekiga (dramatic pictures) and redefines the manga landscape by encouraging an alternative genre for adults. Realistic and disquieting, Tatsumi’s work begins to grapple with the darker aspects of life…
In the 98-minute project, produced for US$800,000 by Khoo’s Zhao Wei Films with animators at Infinite Frameworks Studio of Bataam, Indonesia, Khoo borrows five “really dark and sad” stories from Tatsumi’s autobiography, “A Drifting Life”, interweaving them with his subject’s narrative about growing up in post-WWII Japan.
Or, as Khoo explained: “There’s so much humanity in these stories. What really captivates me is that he’s writing about the human condition. They’re old tales, but they’re still so fresh”. He also added:
“I hope that when this film premieres at Cannes, even non comics fans will want to revisit these stories because they are beautiful. I wanted to give him and his style the international audience they so deserve.”
We share Khoo’s opinion, and wish him good luck at Cannes!
Tatsumi Clip #1
Tatsumi Clip #2
Tatsumi Clip #3