North American premiere
Axis On Demand

Satoshi Kon, The Illusionist (Satoshi Kon, l'illusionniste)

Directed by Pascal-Alex Vincent

Virtual Screening


Official selection

Cannes Classic Section of Cannes Festival 2021


Pascal-Alex Vincent


Pascal-Alex Vincent


Darren Aronofsky, Mamoru Hosoda, Taro Maki, Rodney Rothman, Aya Suzuki


Toshiyuki Kiyomura, Gordon Spooner


Théo Chapira


Clément Selitzki


Carlotta Films

Official website

Japan, France 2021 82 mins OV French/English Subtitles : English
Genre Documentary

In 1997, the festival’s second year, Fantasia had the honour of presenting the world premiere of PERFECT BLUE, the debut feature from a director whose brief filmography would nonetheless prove a dramatic paradigm shift for Japanese anime, and indeed for world cinema. Between then and his sudden passing from pancreatic cancer in 2010, at the age of 46, Satoshi Kon created a series of psychologically potent productions which earned favourable comparisons to Hitchcock, Lynch, and Kubrick, films that toyed with truth and illusion in a deft, precise, and visually marvelous manner. Fantasia introduced its Satoshi Kon Award for Excellence in Animation the following year, and now, a decade after that, French documentarian Pascal-Alex Vincent unveils a poignant, detailed portrait of this unique and transformative talent.

Proceeding chronologically through Kon’s oeuvre – MILLENNIUM ACTRESS, TOKYO GODFATHERS, his manga releases and the TV series PARANOIA AGENT, and of course his masterpiece PAPRIKA – LA MACHINE À RÊVES engages with Kon’s colleagues and contemporaries to create a composite reflection of his personality, his principles, and the themes and ideas that obsessed him. Among them are Mamoru Oshii (GHOST IN THE SHELL), Mamoru Hosada (MIRAI), Jérémy Clapin (I LOST MY BODY), and Rodney Rothman (SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE). There is even a heartbreaking dig into the initial production work on DREAMING MACHINE, the next film he never made. Kon-san may no longer be with us, but as THE ILLUSIONIST reveals, he left behind a global cinematic landscape forever altered. - Rupert Bottenberg