Tatsumi

Alt title: A Drifting Life

Movie (1 ep x 96 min)
2011
3.565 out of 5 from 29 votes
Rank #4,461

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Reviews

luckie13
6.5

To understand what is happening in this movie, you must know that this is essentially a retelling of the life of Yoshihiro Tatsumi. A prolific manga author who was the main driver behind the hard hitting for adults manga genre, gekiga. This movie therefore is simultaneously a biography and a short story anthology. The main story, is the biographical part of Tatsumi's life and his rise into the mange industry, but it is interspersed with 5 short stories that were written around the 1970s. To use the phrasing of the tatsumi in the movie 'all my works from this period are imbued with a deep malaise'. The first story hits hard, and it's what the film opens with it does well to draw you in. It's retells the fictional story of a photographer in the wake of the hiroshima bomb incident, he is tasked with capturing the disaster and takes a photo of a shadow, left behind by the intense UV rays of the bomb, of a mother and her doting son giving her a 'massage'. yet later it transpires that it was actually a murder attempt and the photographer had to come to terms with the moral implications of what he'd done. I won't go into more detail here as I think if this sort of ethical questioning short story piques your interest, then you should witness this movie yourself and come ot your own conclusions as to what Tatsumi was trying to say. The narrator does a great deal in helping to pull together this movie. His voice give the gentle calm yet authoratative air you'd expect from a David Attenborough narated nature documentary. The animation style is strangly fluid and somewhat at odds with the peculiar style of the artwork, but somehow it works. You are not here to witness flashy imagery and superficial nonesense. The music in the background matches the scenes at all times and helps to evoke the gritty amosphere the scenes produce. This movie's best point is that the short stories instill in you a moral quandry and ask you to question the decisions you've made, whether something that seems right to do on the surface is actually rather morally grey or indeed the converse. The credits for this must go to Yoshiro Tatsumi himself for writing such thought provoking and mentally stimulating manga. It's not a passive or easy watch but if you like this sort of media, it's well worth a go.

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