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Millennium Actress (2001)
"Sennen joyû" (original title)

PG  |   |  Animation, Drama, Fantasy  |  14 September 2002 (Japan)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 12,239 users   Metascore: 70/100
Reviews: 54 user | 59 critic | 15 from Metacritic.com

A TV interviewer and his cameraman meet a former actress and travel through her memories and career.

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Title: Millennium Actress (2001)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Miyoko Shôji ...
Mami Koyama ...
Fumiko Orikasa ...
Shôzô Iizuka ...
Genya Tachibana (voice)
Shouko Tsuda ...
Eiko Shimao (voice)
Hirotaka Suzuoki ...
Junichi Ootaki (voice)
Hisako Kyôda ...
Mother (voice)
Kan Tokumaru ...
Senior Manager of Ginei (voice)
Tomie Kataoka ...
Mino (voice)
Takkô Ishimori ...
Head Clerk (voice)
Masamichi Satô ...
Young Genya (voice)
Masaya Onosaka ...
Kyoji Ida (voice)
Masane Tsukayama ...
The Man with the Scar (voice)
Kôichi Yamadera ...
The Man of the Key (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Stephen Bent ...
Junichi Otaki (voice)
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Storyline

A movie studio is being torn down. TV interviewer Genya Tachibana has tracked down its most famous star, Chiyoko Fujiwara, who has been a recluse since she left acting some 30 years ago. Tachibana delivers a key to her, and it causes her to reflect on her career; as she's telling the story, Tachibana and his long-suffering cameraman are drawn in. The key was given to her as a teenager by a painter and revolutionary that she helped to escape the police. She becomes an actress because it will make it possible to track him down, and she spends the next several decades acting out that search in various genres and eras. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, violence and brief mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 September 2002 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Millennium Actress  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$18,732 (USA) (12 September 2003)

Gross:

$37,285 (USA) (26 September 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of Chiyoko herself is somewhat reminiscent of Setsuko Hara, a famed Japanese movie star of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, who likewise withdrew suddenly from public life. Satoshi Kon has recognized this influence in an interview, also citing Hideko Takamine, but insisting that Chiyoko is primarily a universal human character. See more »

Goofs

In the Japanese Version, the news indicates that the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission departed from Cape Canaveral in 1969. During the Apollo missions, the name was Cape Kennedy. The name of Cape Canaveral, was re-registered until 1974. See more »

Quotes

Chiyoko Fujiwara: My lord!
[Approaches the body of the lord]
Chiyoko Fujiwara: Why don't you wait for me?
Genya Tachibana: [trying to mourn] I...
Kyoji Ida: Do you cried in all her movies?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tokyo Godfathers (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Outland Empire
31 May 2007 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

A key reward for writing IMDb comments is that readers send you recommendations. This is one that I had a hard time tracking down. I'm glad I did.

This seems to be viewed only by fans of anime, and that's a shame. I'm not knowledgeable enough in anime to note how it fits. It seems to be in the more "realistic" spectrum, with fewer edges and less posturing.

Japanese writing has gravity. In traditional mode, the eye falls down as it gathers a phrase. The characters are derived from ink on paper instead of the western fonts shaped by chisel on stone. And where the characters I use in English have no inherent semiotic association, Kanji is inherently pictographic. A Japanese reader will literally harvest phases by falling through images, images in a static situation with dynamic sweeps therein.

So when I come to anime, I look for this. Being nonJapanese, I can see it and appreciate it more than a native can I believe.

That's why I'm excited about this, because the visual phrases are imposed on some folds I know.

First about the folds. The way this is structured is as a double documentary of an aged film star, "Sunset Blvd"-wise. Its double because we have a camera and we are seeing the two documentarians: one the interviewer and the other with a camera. (We never get a view through that camera, I think.)

The interview blends with the actress's flashbacks. Now this is very clever, how this is done.

It isn't memory: the documentarians are physically there when a "past" episode occurs. The cameraman constantly asks "what next?" and the interviewer takes on the role of certain characters in the films. These really are films, we see, when sometimes the "camera" rolls back and we see the crew. This is a third camera.

But more: all of the films over many decades conflate and merge, interweaving back and forth through history, forming a single quest for a love. That love is for a painter, who clearly is the animator of this cartoon, "Duck Amuck"-wise. These films not only merge with each other, and the quest, and the "interview," but with her life proper.

As with "8 1/2 Women," earthquakes figure in the shifts and overlays of stories. The thing that binds it all is a "key" which we learn early is to a paintbox, the source of all the paintings we see. Its wonderful organic oneiric origama. oneiroticama.

And that's just the story. Watch how the phrases are constructed though. We fall through them, soft layer after cloudy image.

Its like relaxing into love with perfect trust. You really should see this.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.


22 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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