Satoshi Kon is regarded as one of the finest anime directors to ever live, and as bad luck would have it, the man passed in his 40s after making only four films. But they are great films that should inspire directors for generations to come. If you’ve never seen any of them, there’s good news: The Smithsonianâ€™s National Museum of Asian Art is allowing all four to be screened by anyone, through their website, starting this coming Saturday.
You get Perfect Blue, the disturbing story of a pop star haunted by a stalker (warning: this one’s rated R for a reason), Millennium Actress, a trippy journey through a retired actress’ memories, Tokyo Godfathers, about three homeless people who discover an abandoned baby and try to solve the mystery of her parents, and Paprika, about a stolen machine that allows its user to enter dreams. All the films will be in their original Japanese with English subtitles, and there will also be a documentary available, Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist.
Here’s where things get weird: even though the movies are temporarily free, they won’t let you just load the site and view them. You have to physically “reserve your place” as if you were buying a movie ticket. Yes, this requires an account on the site, and it’s likely the only time you’ll ever use it. You also have to reserve each movie individually!
After the movies are made open, you’ll have precisely one week to view them — but it doesn’t stop there; if you pause one of the movies at any time, you have just 48 hours to resume viewing it, or you won’t be able to view it again. Wha?
Also, if you have to ask, you know the answer: this special online screening is only valid within the USA. Sorry, Canadian readers.
The films of Satoshi Kon go online through the Eventive website starting March 26. They will be up until April 10.