Reviewed by Andrew Hamlin
Prize-winning director Eric Khoo hails from Singapore, but his latest, an animated film — his first — is inspired by Japanese comic art master, Yoshihiro Tatsumi. Tatsumi is widely credited with inventing and popularizing the “gekiga” style of manga — Japanese comics aimed at adults, carrying mature, intricate adult themes.
“Tatsumi” follows two interlaced paths: the course of Tatsumi’s life, from childhood to old age, and several of the stories he’s created along the way. The low-budget animation seems crude at times, but it accentuates a certain other-worldliness in Tatsumi’s tales as he follows Japanese history, from shortly before WWII to the present day.
The characters say and do ordinary things, but their guilty obsessions, lusts, frustrations, and yearnings all lie just beneath the surface. Tatsumi deftly brings these repressed feelings to the forefront. This, coupled with Khoo’s animation and bolstered by a solid screenplay and well-selected Japanese-language voice actors, completes the package. “Tatsumi” isn’t for kids, but it’ll capture the attention of anyone struggling with adult life. (end)
May 22 at 7 p.m., Harvard Exit
May 27 at 9 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown
May 29 at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown