Smithsonian celebrates Satoshi Kon’s legacy with U.S. release of documentary

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art will stream French filmmaker Pascal-Alex Vincent’s 2021 documentary film Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist in the U.S. next week. The documentary, which premiered at last year’s Fantasia International Film Festival, explores the life of legendary anime filmmaker Satoshi Kon.

Kon’s career began as a manga writer and illustrator before becoming an animator in 1991. He would go on to write and animate for classic feature films, including Roujin Z and Patlabor 2, and even directed a Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure OVA.

Kon made his directorial debut in the classic animated horror film Perfect Blue in 1997. Kon adapted the script from Yoshikazu Takeuchi’s novel Perfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis with screenwriter Sadayuki Murai. He would go on to create a filmography of celebrated films including Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, and Paprika. His last film, the short Good Morning, premiered as part of Ani*Kuri15 in 2008. Kon passed away in 2010 at age 46, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Vincent’s documentary features interviews with industry collaborators and animation colleagues, like Ghost in the Shell director Mamoru Oshii, and Belle director Mamoru Hosoda, as well as those influenced by his work around the world like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse director Rodney Rothman.

Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist will be available for streaming on eventive throughout next week, at no cost to viewers. 

About the author


Autumn Wright

Autumn Wright is an anime journalist, which is a real job. As a writer at We Got This Covered, they cover the biggest new seasonal releases, interview voice actors, and investigate labor practices in the global industry. Autumn can be found biking to queer punk through Brooklyn, and you can read more of their words in Polygon, WIRED, The Washington Post, and elsewhere.