HotDocs review: Dr. Nakamats [2010, Kaspar Astrop Schroder]

Toronto – Being a celebrity can be hard. Being a self-promoting celebrity is even harder. The hardest thing is diamond.

I feel like I need a bit of absurdity to go with the film so I can swallow the protagonist’s claims. Yoshiro Nakamatsu says he holds 3,300+ Japanese patents, all of which he did out of love not money but none of which should be sold at half price. His other eccentricities include smelling cameras for their “goodness”, deriving creativity from diving and depriving himself of oxygen, sleeping 4 hours a night and only drinking for fluid the 55 element-enriched “brain drink” he invented, believing that he’ll live to 144 because it’s a multiple of 6, orchestrating his 3 children to give him a surprise present at 12am, AND keeping his mother’s body in a special contraption on the ceiling of his home so he can telepathically communicate to her for ideas. Ok, so maybe I don’t have to believe him. But when the 81 years old standing in front of you says that he teaches at the University of Tokyo, preaches a 3-step program of creativity with an accompanying 5-tier pagoda of success, you really wonder who’s trying to convince who. What I think we have is a very eccentric man whose ego is in need of 24-7 pampering, and have an endless stockpile of rehearsed lines for each situation. That, at least, is admirable.

Because Dr. Nakamats is so very out of the ordinary, the film didn’t use a whole lot of other visual elements save the sign-post font graphics. I don’t feel like that I have been informed a great lot, either – unless this is meant to be a mockery to the man – in which case it baffles the mind why Dr. Nakamats himself showed up at the screening. And I didn’t like it when the audience skips around this obvious contradiction but was confronted with cutesy one liner responses. Overall I was a little disappointed, not the least because Isabel Bader theater was uncharacteristically 30 minutes late.

Posted on by Gary in Everything, Hot Docs, Reviews