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Tatsumi 2012 NR

3.6 out of 5 stars (16) IMDb 7.2/10

Tatsumi celebrates the life and work of Yoshihiro Tatsumi-a manga pioneer who transformed the genre with cinematic inspiration and psychological depth.

Tetsuya Bessho, Motoko Gollent
1 hour, 37 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, International
Director Eric Khoo
Starring Tetsuya Bessho, Motoko Gollent
Supporting actors Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Mike Wiluan
Studio Zeitgeist Films Ltd.
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on May 17, 2013
Format: DVD
As a documentary, "Tatsumi" is easily one of the more unorthodox projects that I've encountered lately. And I mean that as a huge compliment because I was very impressed by Eric Khoo's portrait of Japanese Manga artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi. While I was not particularly familiar with Tatsumi's legacy, that did not lessen my interest in the film. A pioneer in Gekiga (which is a more realistic, adult themed Manga), Tatsumi has lived his life for his art. This tribute succeeds as a biography, as an introduction to his work, and as a peek behind the artistic process. Ostensibly, the primary portion of the movie is a dramatization of Tatsumi's memoir "A Drifting Life" but this material is interspersed with five classic tales of post-war Japan brought to life. The stories don't interrupt the biographical material, instead they enhance it. By showcasing Tatsumi's fiction, it gives the viewer a better understanding of the man and his art. It's a fascinating approach and one that really works. Nominated for the prestigious Un Certain Regard Award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and Singapore's entry for consideration as Best Foreign Film for the 2012 Oscars, this is a evocative presentation that really surprised me with how much I enjoyed it.

The five included short films are:
1) Hell: A man snaps a picture in the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing that captivates the nation and becomes an icon, but sometimes images can be decieving.
2) Beloved Monkey: A factory worker experiences his share of troubles, but parting ways with his pet monkey may have the most devastating results imaginable.
3) Just A Man: An upright businessman on the eve of retirement decides to smite his greedy wife with a plot to spend his earnings on masculine pursuits.
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Format: DVD
First things first. “Tatsumi” is an animated film with a unique narrative style. The Singaporean film (in Japanese language) consists of six animated stories based on the works of a Japanese manga-ka, or comic creator, Yoshihiro Tatsumi. The main story is based on Tatsumi’s autobiographical manga “A Drifting Life,” and it is interspersed with five shorts from Tatsumi’s works.

Except the main storyline that works as a frame story (narrated by Tatsumi himself), the contents of his comics, largely set in the post-WWII economic boom and modernization, are all dark and adult-themed, mainly about those who are lonely and isolated. The voice of five short segments (“Hell” “Beloved Monkey” “Just a man” “Occupied” “Good-Bye”) is mostly by the Japanese actor Tetsuya Bessho, whose voice acting is just OK.

The style of animation itself is very close to that of “cutout animation” or “flash animation,” and using computer graphics the 2D-style animation captures the hand-drawn touch of the source material very well.

Having said that, I was not impressed with “Tatsumi” very much, probably because the film, despite its beautifully colored animation, gives so little insight into the man and his works. I know this is not a documentary or a school lecture. “Tatsumi” is more like director Eric Khoo’s love letter to the artist. That is fine with me, but this letter, which is a bit too passionate, does not tell me why we should read his manga.

I have to add a few things. Some part of the film’s editorial review is misleading. It is true that the term “gekiga” – word rarely used today in Japan even among manga fans – was coined by Tatsumi, but he is not the only manga creator who contributed to establishing this subgenre.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Worth two viewings to catch the subtleties presented by this "foreign" film.

I was confused at first. I did not understand that director Choo had inserted Tatsumi's short stories in Tatsumi's biography which was the main narrative. The short stories each had a different graphic style from the main narrative, even a title, but I was dense and didn't really get it until the end. So I want to watch this a second time and savor the short stories and the historical biography.

I enjoyed the graphic style, perhaps a limited budget, but the director transcended any limitation such as he might have had. Using different styles for the main narrative and the short stories is pleasing. I found it soothing and it held my interest. I was very satisfied but I am an artist and I was watching this to learn about another artist.

The people who rated this one star missed it. It went over their heads. If the renters did not have Amazon Prime and purchased an unsubtitled version then they would be doubly confused. I had subtitles with Amazon Prime version and thoroughly enjoyed this at the end when it finally dawned on me what I had seen. That's why I want to see it again. It is short, only ninety minutes but it is a rare overview of an artist who transcends comic books. Tatsumi tells gripping human stories. It is literary fiction period.

So now that I have had this introduction, and in all fairness it introduces only the life work of Tatsumi (and postwar Japan), it doesn't tell the whole story I also want to read Tatsumi's stories themselves as he wrote and drew them. And I thank this brilliant movie for introducing me to the profoundly human stories that transcend Japanese culture. Tatsumi is a vastly underrated artist.

I recommend you watch this film with an awareness of its unusual narrative and short story interspersing and your satisfaction will be greater. As will your appreciation for the artistry of Tatsumi.
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