Satoshi Kon – Editing Space & Time

Satoshi Kon – Editing Space & Time

Hi my name is Tony and
this is Every Frame a Painting. Today I’m going to talk about one of
the greats of the last twenty years the Japanese filmmaker Satoshi Kon. Even if you don’t know his work you have
certainly seen some of his images. He is an acknowledged influence on both
Darren Aronofsky and Christopher Nolan And he has a fan base that includes just
about everyone who loves animation. In one decade, he made
four feature films and one TV series all of them amazingly consistent,
all of them about how modern people cope
with living multiple lives. Private, public. Offscreen, onscreen.
Waking, dreaming. If you’ve seen his work you’ll recognize
this blurring of reality and fantasy. Today, I’m only going to focus on
one thing: his excellent editing. So as an editor, I’m always looking
for new ways to cut especially from outside
the realm of live-action. Kon was one of the most fascinating.
His most noticeable habit was matching scene transitions. I’ve mentioned before that Edgar Wright
does this for visual comedy–Scott!
–What? It’s part of a tradition that includes
The Simpsons and Buster Keaton. Kon was different. His inspiration
was the movie version of Slaughterhouse-Five
directed by George Roy Hill.–I can always tell, you know,
when you’ve been time-tripping This is more of a sci-fi tradition
that includes Philip K Dick and Terry Gilliam But even among peers,
Kon pushed this idea pretty far. Slaughterhouse-Five has basically
three types of scene transitions: a general match cut an exact graphic match and intercutting two different time
periods, which mirror each other. Kon did all of these things,
but he would also rewind the film,
cross the line into a new scene, zoom out from a TV,
use black frames to jump cut, use objects to wipe frame, and
I don’t even know what to call this. To show you how dense this gets,
the opening four minutes of Paprika has five dream sequences and every
single one is connected by a match cut. Number six is not connected
by a match cut, but there is a
graphic match within the scene. Just for comparison, the opening
fifteen minutes of Inception has four interconnected dreams.
Number of match cuts: one.–What is the most resilient parasite? Cuts like this aren’t uncommon,
but they’re definitely not something most filmmakers build a style out of. Usually you see them as one-off effects.
Two of the most famous examples: Oh and this one because it’s amazing Kon’s work was about the interaction
between dreams, memories, nightmares, movies, and life. The matching images were how
he linked the different worlds. Sometimes he would stack transitions
back to back, so you’d be getting used to one scene
before you got thrown into the next. All of this made him really
surprising to watch. You could blink and miss that
you’re in a different scene. Even when he wasn’t dealing with dreams,
Kon was an unusual editor. He loved ellipses and would often
just jump past part of the scene. So you’d see a character look at a key. You expect to see her take it,
but that doesn’t happen. The scene just moves on.
Later on, in a different scene: Or you’d see a man jumping
out of a window and fade out. We’d then cut to a scene we didn’t
understand, reveal that this is a dream, back out, and then show the
conclusion of the previous scene. Even things like murder, he would
do the build-up and cut away. But he would show us the gory result. I particularly love the way
he handled character death. Here, an old man dies and
the windmills of his hut stop. Then it turns out he’s alive,
so they start up again. When we finish the scene,
the windmill shot doesn’t repeat, but you’ll notice they aren’t moving,
implying he is dead. Kon also had a habit of starting scenes
in close-up and you’d figure out where you were as the scene went on. Every once in a while,
he’d use an establishing shot. And then reveal that it was actually a
point-of-view. So without you noticing, he brought you
into the character’s world. He was constantly showing one image and
then revealing that it wasn’t what you thought it was. Your experience of space and time
became subjective. He could also edit in ways that a
lot of live-action filmmakers could not. During an interview, Kon said that
he didn’t want to direct live action because his editing was too fast. For example: This shot of the bag is only 6 frames.
For a comparable moment in live action that was 10 frames.
Or how about this insert of a note? 10 frames. But in live-action… 49 frames. Kon felt that as an animator,
he could draw less information in the shot, so your
eye could read it faster. You can actually see someone like Wes
Anderson doing this in live-action removing visual information
so his inserts “read” faster. It’s worth noting: you can actually cut
much faster than this, but the images pretty much become subliminal.
Some of these shots are 1 frame. None of this was for cheap effect.
Kon felt that we each experience space, time, reality and fantasy
at the same time as individuals and also collectively as a society.
His style was an attempt to depict this in images and sound. In the course of
ten years, he pushed animation in ways that aren’t really
possible in live action. Not just elastic images, but elastic
editing — a unique way of moving from image to image, scene to scene. And he
was helped in this crusade by the studio Madhouse, who did
some of their finest work on his films. If you want to see a perfect summation
of his work, I present his final film: a one-minute short about how we feel
when we get up in the morning This is Ohayou–Ohayou Farewell, Satoshi Kon.


  • Turtleproof says:

    This is a video I have come back to many times but I had to pause when D—– A——– was mentioned.

  • Bigchewy Gaming says:

    And farewell Every Frame a Painting

  • Bryan Liang says:

    Match cuts are pretty overrated tbh

  • Mamun Miah says:

    I discovered Satoshi Kon through this vid 🙂

  • MrJdm119 says:

    MadMen does this excellently as well

  • Kat Howard says:

    It’s a bit obnoxious to say that live adaptation is incapable of cutting down frames for a shot- you’re completely neglecting the individual choices of directors and producers. Any pillow slap to the face can be 6 frames, but you get so much more nuance with the extra four frames seen in the live filming because it was an elective choice to see the girl smirk a bit before methodically whacking the other girl with a pillow. You can film any pillow zoom at the camera for three frames and splice in the girl getting smacked. People can edit just as quickly as this fucker’s animation- they just don’t want to because it’s not their style. This guy made it part of his style to have this type of editing but he didn’t define it as some sort of revolutionary style. Literally could see this type of quick splicing in Man with a Movie Camera by Dziga Vertov in the 1920s. That movie had multiple exposure, fast motion, slow motion, freeze frames, match cuts, jump cuts, split screens, Dutch angles, extreme close-ups, tracking shots, reversed footage, stop motion animations and self-reflexive visuals, many of which he actually came up with himself.

    This guy isn’t a revolutionary, he just produced animations that followed an uncommon style and normalized it to a small degree.

  • Andrew P says:

    The opening of Synecdoche, New York plays with the perception of time like this too. Its really interesting stuff!

  • Kokanauka says:

    Wait, why did you say "Farewell"? Is he dead??

  • zimThuet says:

    it's a damn shame.

  • A None says:

    what was the other movie other than perfect blue and paprika?

  • Tony78454 says:

    Hey! Guy! You should put the titles of the film the scenes were taken from I'm the corner I'm lazy. Now I have to imbd this guy I never heard to watch the rest of these films… I loved paprika

  • Carl Lazarraga says:

    So hollywood steals from anime, and then when they try to do an anime adaptation, they turn into generic garbage.


  • lady& rest says:


  • Manple Wolock says:

    His JoJo OVA is shit

  • A free guy says:

    YouTube's recommendations are getting better it seems!

  • Mano csak says:

    A 2014 video amazing, knowing this guy, in the end knowing the guy died…. in 2010…. 9 years…. come on youtube…. so sad

  • Moggy Catermole says:

    born in 61 and still, love anime today I am rewatching the cowboy bebop series

  • Bob Ross says:

    I really like this kind of style. I'm downloading Spirited Away right now too.

  • ꧁Грустная Тучка꧂ says:

    5:12 what is this movie?

  • lucassmarker says:

    that was cool to see how he used establishing shots as character’s perspectives, it immediately puts u in the characters shoes. i will have to try that

  • Dipping dots says:

    Anime is respected in Asia, just not by racist white people.

  • Cristofer Fuentes says:

    This is not LOFI but I am satisfied.

  • Really, I'd rather not. says:

    What's the 3:03 transition from?

  • AllTheOthers says:

    That Susumu Hirasawa score tho.

  • PhoenixFire504 says:

    Hollywood still doesn’t understand that good animation for adults is something that can be very profitable and good for the industry. They keep trying to push live action remakes of old animation classics just to milk them for all they’re worth. It’s a travesty.

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