Friday, August 27, 2010

You will be remembered

I'd like to mark the passing of two men who had some measure of influence on my life, even if it is a few days late -- Satoshi Kon and Jack Horkheimer.

Kon, a Japanese director and screenwriter, was a beacon of creativity and invention in an industry that increasingly plays to a narrow audience. His works include the movies "Perfect Blue", "Millennium Actress", "Tokyo Godfathers" and "Paprika", as well as the TV series "Paranoia Agent". I don't watch nearly as much anime as I used to, but Kon's works have stuck with me and will hopefully have the staying power to delight future generations.
Satoshi Kon, a Japanese filmmaker and comic-book artist whose dazzling visual compositions and humane, emotionally resonant stories won him a devoted following in animation circles and beyond, died in Tokyo on Tuesday. He was 46.
The cause was pancreatic cancer, according to the Tokyo Shimbun news service and statements issued by Mr. Kon’s wife, Kyoko, and by Madhouse Studios, where Mr. Kon directed films.
While Mr. Kon’s film work incorporated many familiar anime elements — pixielike female characters, sensitive robots, futuristic cityscapes and an anxious fascination with the creative and destructive power of technology — it was also informed by literary, artistic and cinematic traditions far beyond contemporary Japanese popular culture.

If you don't mind the length, Kon's last words are well worth a read. I'm not one normally given to being emotional, but I'll admit to misting up while reading that.

Horkheimer, meanwhile, was a man familiar to night owls and PBS watchers, such as myself. His enthusiasm and love of astronomy were unmistakable, always signing off with his trademark, "Keep looking up!"

His sense of humor comes shining through in his self-penned epitaph on his biography page:
"Keep Looking Up was my life's admonition,
I can do little else in my present position."

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