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

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 10,325 users   Metascore: 70/100
Reviews: 50 user | 57 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)

Millennium Actress (2001) on IMDb 7.9/10

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4 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Miyoko Shôji ...
Chiyoko Fujiwara (70's) (voice)
Mami Koyama ...
Chiyoko Fujiwara (20-40's) (voice)
Fumiko Orikasa ...
Chiyoko Fujiwara (10-20's) (voice)
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)
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)
Matt Devereaux ...
The Man with the Scar (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

Plot Keywords:

key | actress | cameraman | 1930s | confession | See more »


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
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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

Senior Manager of Ginei: [the director presents Chiyoko with Eiko] Chiyoko is in the lead
Chiyoko Fujiwara: [Making a reverence] Nice to meet you
Senior Manager of Ginei: I'm sure you recognize to Eiko Shimao, Our main star
Eiko Shimao: [Looking at Chiyoko despectively] Hello, Chieko
See more »

Connections

References Yojimbo (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Defying time and space, love is consummated
20 December 2003 | by (CAN) – See all my reviews

Reprising roles that span a millennium, an actress who longs for her first love re-enacts the drama of affirming her love for him. 'Millennium Actress' puts the theme of unrequited love in a light that is universally encompassing. It is ultimately a story of a pure-hearted character whose loving devotion to one person, innocently conceived and passionately guarded, lends itself sentience and weaves fiction with stark reality of often longing and despair. There is no doubt that this film has left me profoundly impressed.

'Millennium Actress' adopts an esoteric 'film within film' form that is disclosed in flashbacks by the actress, Chiyoko. Her highlights of her cinematography is interwoven with real events of her life, and both fiction and non-fiction aspects of her life adhere to the context of concise Japanese history. Some of these flashbacks at least in their thematic references recur more than once, and variations between them become clever plot devices that lend meaningful depth of time and space to the film.

The recurring and consistently relevant symbols in the flashbacks not only pique the viewer's interest, but also anchor a means to explain the psyche of Chiyoko. Her reaction in each flashback and present to one particular entity is another indication of her perspective on her love, one of many signs of deep implication that enhances the film.

The animation in the film tends to be minimalist except for a few instances where it is cast in significant passage of film (for example running), but the art direction and technique which realize various era of Japanese history and provides a fluid transition between fictional flashbacks to accounts rooted in reality is most elegantly and superbly executed. Character design is accordingly appealing, especially the depiction of Chiyoko through various stages of her life that delineates the same dignity and purity. So much so that it seems almost as if Chiyoko itself transcends to some abstract form of ideal love, only unrequited, and therefore something of great potential but not wasted; since it essentially defies time and space, as allegorically portrayed in her various film roles.

The director Satoshi Kon commented in his interview on his pleasure with the music, which seems to be electronically assembled with a lot of repetition. It sometimes stands out as a bit overbearing and idiosyncratic, yet considering the nature of theme from the film it does not detract from the overall viewing experience.

Only note of letdown, if there is any point to it at all, comes from my personal disdain for a rather melancholy sequence at the end. Yet, a conventional Hollywood resolution would not apply here. As a footnote to my rambling, and for which I must apologize, I should add that 'till death do us part' could not be more opposite of what this film professes.

9/10


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