Film series: Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist

Student working on film projector

image from Satoshi Kon’s MILLENNIUM ACTRESS

image from Satoshi Kon’s MILLENNIUM ACTRESS

Manga artist and animator Satoshi Kon died suddenly in 2010 at the age of 46, leaving behind a small but hugely influential body of work. His films, known for their seamless blending of reality and fantasy, are some of the most acclaimed anime outside of Studio Ghibli, distributed widely and hugely influential both to Japanese culture and to international animation. According to Kon's friend and colleague, Mamoru Hosoda (Mirai, Belle), "Satoshi Kon expanded the possibilities of animation. He created animated films of equal power to live-action film." A new documentary about Kon’s life and work, Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist, screens February 11 and includes interviews with Kon’s family and collaborators as they commemorate the ten-year anniversary of his passing. 

In conjunction with this new documentary about Satoshi Kon, Cornell Cinema will present his three greatest films. Perfect Blue (February 10 & 12) was a cult sensation upon its turn-of-the-century release, centering on a pop star’s turn toward acting and the psychological effects a stalker has on her and her work. Millennium Actress (February 17) is Kon’s ode to filmmaking, as two documentary filmmakers seek to interview the former star of a bankrupt studio. Paprika (March 17 & 19), is his most mind-bending, with an awe-inspiring visual style to match the sci-fi tale of a stolen machine prototype that allows psychiatrists to enter people’s dreams. Paprika would be Satoshi Kon’s final film, having received a terminal cancer diagnosis during the production of his next project, the uncompleted film Dreaming Machine

Cosponsored with the East Asia Program.

Related films

image from the film Paprika



image from the film Perfect Blue

Perfect Blue


image from the film Millennium Actress

Millennium Actress


image from the film Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist

Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist