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Millennium Actress
Millennium Actress
Actors: Miyoko Sh˘ji, Mami Koyama, Fumiko Orikasa, Sh˘z˘ ╬zuka, Shouko Tsuda
Director: Satoshi Kon
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Anime & Manga, Animation
PG     2003     1hr 27min

A movie studio is being torn down. Tv interviewer genya tachibana has tracked down its most famous star Studio: Paramount Home Video Release Date: 05/01/2007 Starring: Miyoko Shji Fumiko Orikasa Run time: 87 minutes R...  more »

     

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Movie Details

Actors: Miyoko Sh˘ji, Mami Koyama, Fumiko Orikasa, Sh˘z˘ ╬zuka, Shouko Tsuda
Director: Satoshi Kon
Creators: Hisao Shirai, Satoshi Kon, Satoshi Terauchi, Taro Maki, Sadayuki Murai
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Anime & Manga, Animation
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Anime & Manga, Animation
Studio: Dreamworks Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Animated,Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 10/28/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 27min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 14
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English, French

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Movie Reviews

A Very Touching Love Story
flyingaho | Brookline, MA United States | 11/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Millennium Actress is one of the most touching Animes I have watched in a very long time. As another reviewer had hinted, this anime can be depressing. However, it is depressing in a very good, Saving Private Ryan sort of way. I would not be surprised if some people actually shed a few tears while watching this, I was pretty close to just doing that.When I first saw this DVD at the video rental store I figured it would be like Perfect Blue, the director's previous Anime. It is interesting because on the Special Feature section of the DVD, the creators of Millennium Actress actually said that they wanted to make something like Perfect Blue. However the story to Millennium Actress is completely different. The story is still focused on an actress but instead of suspense, this anime is one gigantic love story which takes you through different periods of Japanese film culture.One thing which I really enjoyed about this anime is the great creativity which is used to tell the story. It is difficult to explain in words but the main character Chiyako is seen jumping from movies to movies from different eras in order to advance the plot. This way of story telling is certainly the first I have seen in an Anime and is implemented very well.Overall I strongly recommend this anime to most viewers. Unlike Perfect Blue there are no sex scenes and very little violence in this Anime which would explain the PG rating. However, the subject matter and the complexity of the story in this anime would be much more appreciated by adults."
The love of the chase and the romance of unrequited love
Zack Davisson | Seattle, WA, USA | 12/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Millennium Actress" does what every good animation should do. It takes a good look at the medium, and puts forth a story that utilizes the unique strengths of animation, making a film that could not be live-action. This is a master at work.Both intellectual and emotional, the story is profound and touching, deep with sorrow and hope and unspoken, unrequited love that lasts throughout the years of a lifetime. The two main stories are Chioyoko, desperately seeking the love of her childhood across the years, a man who gave her a key to "the most important thing" and Genya, the journalist interviewing Chioyoko about her life, and who also has carried a secret, powerful love for most of his lifetime.Drifting across Chioyoko's lifetime as an actress, the story fades in and out of her movies, blending seamlessly fantasy and reality, past, present and future. The technique is amazing, as is the journey through Japan's history as Chioyoko makes various period films, becoming schoolgirl, peasant, Geisha, prostitute, Samurai princess and astronaut. Always she is seeking the man she knew as a child, and every role is a quest.A brilliant film, on par with any great animation such as "Grave of the Fireflies" or "Spirited Away.""
A marvelously inventive and ambitious animated film
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 09/12/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"MILLENIUM ACTRESS is an extremely ambitious, brilliantly executed animated film by the extremely talented Satashi Kon, who previously directed the marvelous PERFECT BLUE. There are many, many exquisite moments, where Kon is clearly pulling out all the stops to try to take animation to a completely new level, with a cascade of marvelous images and attempts to animate effects that have never or rarely been attempted before. From a sheer technical perspective, this film is really hard to top. Unfortunately, I personally found the story lagging behind the animation. Nonetheless, this film is certain to delight any fan of anime.As much as I loved the animation, and even loved many individual scenes, the film as a whole just didn't quite come together. The story's pretext reminded me a bit of the puzzle facing Billy Pilgrim in SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE: like Pilgrim, famous and aging actress Chiyoko Fujiwara has become unstuck in time. Her migrations in time occur during an interview with a representative from her former studio, who turns out to have been in love with her for many years. During their interview, Chiyoko and her two interviewers travel magically to and fro during the course of her childhood and film career, in many instances reenacting famous scenes in her career. Throughout it all, she remains obsessed with a key that she has promised to return to a mysterious painter and political revolutionary (despite Japan's political conservativism during many parts of its history in the 20th century, the heroes in this film are all rebels or friends of rebels). The film ends with a theme not dissimilar to one of the "Theses Actually or Possibly Attributable to Lessing" in Kierkegaard's CONCLUDING UNSCIENTIFIC POSTSCRIPT, where Lessing/Kierkegaard, being offered either the Truth which God hold in his right hand or the search for the Truth which he holds in his left, chooses the left hand. Chiyoko is never able to return the key to her beloved, but at the end of her life she learns that the lifelong attempt and struggle to do so was the most important thing in life. In this way, her mysterious stranger becomes symbolic for all that is most important. The problem is that the narrative that would express this becomes too frequently erratic or incoherent. Furthermore, because of the narrative problems in the film, I found my interest level sagging towards the end of the film.Nonetheless, this remains an absolutely first rate film, and one of the most fascinating examples of adult animation I have seen, though by adult I don't mean in any way obscene. I'm not certain that a small child would find this film very interesting, but neither would a parent find anything in it inappropriate for a child."
Confusing at first, but powerful.
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 10/16/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Millennium Actress (Satoshi Kon, 2001)

I've been trying to figure out what to say about Millennium Actress for over a week now. I still haven't come up with much. It's a good movie, though a confusing one at times. Full of the depth of character one expects from the top Japanese directors of animation, well-plotted if a bit threadbare in places. In other words, good, but could've been better.

The story centers on Chiyoko Fujiwara, a retired actress tracked down by a reporter, Genya Tachibana, and Genya's cameraman Eiko soon after the studio where she rose to fame was torn down. Genya and Chiyoko talk, both reliving the most famous scenes in her movies and putting together the tale of the things that happened in between, as Chiyoko pursued her first love, an anonymous man who had given her a key when she was younger.

The first fifteen or twenty minutes, pay very very close attention-- and even then, you may miss a time shift or two. Once you get used to the way things go back and forth in time, though, the movie gets much easier to follow, and you can spend your time getting to know the characters. Things just keep going after that, with the plot really taking a backseat to the character-building; this makes the end of the movie work perfectly. It's quite an enjoyable little movie, really, and worth watching. *** ½"