CANNES Q&A: ‘Tatsumi’ Director Eric Khoo
Cannes veteran Eric Khooâ€™s first animated feature, Tatsumi, is a tribute to Japanese animator Yoshihiro Tatsumi, borrowing five â€œreally dark and sadâ€ stories from the artistâ€™s award winning autobiography. Set to unspool in Un Certain Regard as the seminal illustrator from Osaka approaches 76 years old, Tatsumi is a birthday gift from Khoo, produced for US$800,000.
Interweaving Tatsumiâ€™s stories with snippets about his youth in post-WWII Japan taken from the autobiography, A Drifting Life, the animated film could help introduce a whole new audience to the gekiga (dramatic pictures) style Tatsumi developed in the late 1950s – a style that would shape comics in his homeland, and around the world, for decades to come. As he prepared to accompany his â€œsenseiâ€ to Cannes, Singaporean Khoo talked with The Hollywood Reporterâ€™s Jonathan Landreth.
The Hollywood Reporter: Whatâ€™s it like to be going back to Cannes?
Eric Khoo: Tatsumi is my first animated film. Initially, there were teething problems and I wasnâ€™t sure what would come of it. We were exploring a new technique. Itâ€™s not the conventional Pixar look thatâ€™s become familiar. Itâ€™s going back to 1950s charming animation. How would we take Tatsumiâ€™s old animation and refresh it?
We made the film as a tribute film and I wanted the film to go to Cannes from the beginning, but I wasnâ€™t sure it could happen. So, it was incredible when I got the news. When my Japanese producer told Tatsumi the news, he was so happy and said it was a dream come true. Heâ€™d dreamed as a boy in the 1950s of being a filmmaker.