Geneva Anderson digs into art

SFIFF 53 review: “The Invention of Dr. Nakamats,” Japan’s Mr. Gadget is eccentric, rich, and a national hero but he’s no Thomas Edison.

The Invention of Dr. Nakamats (Opfinsdelsen Af Dr. Nakmats) (Dir. Kaspar Astrup Schröder, Denmark, 2009, 57 min)

Dr. Nakamats, the focus Kaspar Astrup Schroder's documentary THE INVENTION OF DR. NAKAMATS, is obsessed with self-promotion.

With over 3,300 patents to his name, Japanese inventor Yoshiro Nakamats holds the record for the more patents than anyone else dead or alive and is the subject of Danish director Kaspar Astrup Schröder’s humorous documentary, “The Invention of Dr. Nakamats.”  This is one of 28 documentaries screening at the 53rd San Francisco International Film Festival

 With the energetic Dr. Nakamats as its guide, the film follows this extraordinary Japanese celebrity as he explains his creative process, his mission to elongate life and his many zany inventions.  With no feedback from the filmmaker or any other credible sources to validate his claims, it’s hard to know how to this take this hour-long display of self-promotion.   Fact or fiction?  The ride is enjoyable enough but frankly, the puzzlement is annoying.

As this straightforward point and shoot film progresses, it becomes obvious that it is controlled entirely by Nakamats, who presents as a goofy self-made mad scientist of sorts who makes grievous errors in presenting himself as a person of substance.  There’s something that seems common among inventors that Nakamats seem to lack—humility.   It is a fundamental tenant of science that you stand on the shoulders of others and that others will stand on your shoulders.  Over claiming your contribution is a violation a basic tenant of the creative process.  Nakamats walks all over this.  Overall, the film is entertaining but misses it potential.  It delivers a confusing if not shallow portrait of an individual whose patent portfolio is as zany as he is.   At the end of the film, you’re likely to be asking– Is Nakamats for real?  Did he pay for the film?  Did he really invent the floppy disk, the compact disc, the digital watch, a unique golf putter, a water-powered engine, the “Love Jet” (arousal enhancer) and an invisible “b flat” bra?   Why haven’t I ever heard of him before?  

Screens: 53rd San Francisco International Film Festival—Friday, April 30 (9:30 PM, Sundance Kabuki), Monday, May 3 (1:30 PM, Sundance Kabuki), Wednesday, May 5 (6:30 PM Sundance Kabuki) tickets $12.50,

May 5, 2010 - Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , ,

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