Tatsumi: A Life in Animation
In “Tatsumi,” an animated retelling of the real life of Japanese graphic novelist Yoshihiro Tatsumi is interwoven with five of his short fictional stories from the 1970s. The stories deal with subjects such as the aftereffects of World War II, unhappy marriages and isolation.
The stories are laced with black humor. In “Occupied,” a washed-up author of childrens’ books becomes obsessed with obscene graffiti in public toilets. “His life was a hard one—his family was very poor,” says Singaporean director Eric Khoo, whose film is based on Mr. Tatsumi’s short stories and 2008 autobiography, “A Drifting Life,” which covers the years from 1945 to 1960.
“He said if you put all my stories in a film, the audience will commit suicide,” Mr. Khoo laughs.
“Tatsumi” is both a celebration of the artist’s work and the culmination of Mr. Khoo’s lifelong love of his stories. The Japanese-language animated movie will have its premiere at next month’s Cannes Film Festival.
“When I read ‘A Drifting Life’ I finally understood him,” says the 46-year-old director. “He wanted to go deeper into an area of comics that wasn’t even there. The stories he writes are very dark and very bleak.”