7.9/10
17,142
61 user 62 critic

Millennium Actress (2001)

Sennen joyû (original title)
A TV interviewer and his cameraman meet a former actress and travel through her memories and career.

Director:

On Disc

at Amazon

7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

On Christmas Eve, three homeless people living on the streets of Tokyo find a newborn baby among the trash and set out to find its parents.

Directors: Satoshi Kon, Shôgo Furuya
Stars: Tôru Emori, Yoshiaki Umegaki, Aya Okamoto
Paprika (2006)
Animation | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

When a machine that allows therapists to enter their patients' dreams is stolen, all Hell breaks loose. Only a young female therapist, Paprika, can stop it.

Director: Satoshi Kon
Stars: Megumi Hayashibara, Tôru Emori, Katsunosuke Hori
Perfect Blue (1997)
Animation | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A retired pop singer turned actress' sense of reality is shaken when she is stalked by an obsessed fan and seemingly a ghost of her past.

Director: Satoshi Kon
Stars: Junko Iwao, Rica Matsumoto, Shinpachi Tsuji
Môsô dairinin (TV Series 2004)
Animation | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Seemingly unconnected citizens of Tokyo are targeted for bludgeoning by a boy with a golden baseball bat. As detectives try to link the victims, they discover that following the assaults, the victims' lives have improved in some way.

Stars: Shôzô Îzuka, Toshihiko Seki, Michael McConnohie
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A high-school girl named Makoto acquires the power to travel back in time, and decides to use it for her own personal benefits. Little does she know that she is affecting the lives of others just as much as she is her own.

Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Stars: Riisa Naka, Takuya Ishida, Mitsutaka Itakura
Memories (1995)
Animation | Fantasy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

"Memories" is made up of three separate science-fiction stories. In the first, "Magnetic Rose," four space travelers are drawn into an abandoned spaceship that contains a world created by ... See full summary »

Directors: Kôji Morimoto, Tensai Okamura, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Shigeru Chiba, Hisao Egawa, Kayoko Fujii
Akira (1988)
Animation | Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A secret military project endangers Neo-Tokyo when it turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psychic psychopath that only two teenagers and a group of psychics can stop.

Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo
Stars: Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, Mitsuo Iwata
Animation | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Told in three interconnected segments, we follow a young man named Takaki through his life as cruel winters, cold technology, and finally, adult obligations and responsibility converge to test the delicate petals of love.

Director: Makoto Shinkai
Stars: Kenji Mizuhashi, Yoshimi Kondou, Satomi Hanamura
Animation | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In Treasure Town, life can be both peaceful and violent. This is never truer than for our heroes, Black and White - two street kids who claim to traverse the urban city as if it were their ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Arias
Stars: Kazunari Ninomiya, Yû Aoi, Yûsuke Iseya
Metropolis (2001)
Animation | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Kenichi and his uncle Shunsaku Ban must find the mystery behind robot girl Tima.

Director: Rintaro
Stars: Toshio Furukawa, Scott Weinger, Yuka Imoto
Animation | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A twenty-seven-year-old office worker travels to the countryside while reminiscing about her childhood in Tokyo.

Director: Isao Takahata
Stars: Miki Imai, Toshirô Yanagiba, Yoko Honna
Animation | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A 15-year-old boy and 27-year-old woman find an unlikely friendship one rainy day in the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.

Director: Makoto Shinkai
Stars: Miyu Irino, Kana Hanazawa, Fumi Hirano
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Miyoko Shôji ...
...
Fumiko Orikasa ...
Shôzô Îzuka ...
Genya Tachibana (voice)
Shouko Tsuda ...
Eiko Shimao (voice)
Hirotaka Suzuoki ...
Junichi Ootaki (voice)
...
Mother (voice)
Kan Tokumaru ...
Tomie Kataoka ...
Mino (voice)
Takkô Ishimori ...
Head Clerk (voice)
Masamichi Satô ...
Young Genya (voice)
Masaya Onosaka ...
Kyoji Ida (voice)
Masane Tsukayama ...
...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Stephen Bent ...
Junichi Otaki (voice)
Edit

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 September 2002 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Millennium Actress  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$18,732 (USA) (14 September 2003)

Gross:

$37,285 (USA) (28 September 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Commercially, the film performed modestly on its US release, earning $37,285 during its 3 week release. The film was shown almost exclusively in New York and Los Angeles, and received a minimal advertising campaign from Go Fish Pictures. 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

Kyoji Ida: [while Kyoji and Genya are watching Chiyoko crying at the train station] Man, this is dramatic...
[Koyi surprises when he sees a crying Genya]
Genya Tachibana: [Crying] I cried fifty-three times in this scene!
Kyoji Ida: When did this become a movie?
See more »

Connections

References Yojimbo (1961) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A complex and beautiful film
12 January 2004 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

In some films, the dividing line between subjective and objective reality is very tenuous. In Satoshi Kon's poetic Japanese animé film Millennium Actress, it is almost non-existent. When the Ginei studio is about to be razed, documentarian Genya Tachibana decides to make a documentary about the studio and its greatest star, legendary actress Fujiwara Chiyoko who disappeared from public life more than thirty years ago. After finding an old key that belonged to the aging actress, he travels to her secluded mountain retreat with his assistant Kyogi Ida to interview her for the documentary. When Genya gives her the key, it unlocks a stream of memories that transports us (along with the cameraman and interviewer) to a different reality that allows us to relive one thousand years of Japanese history using the medium of cinema.

As she tells her story, Chiyoko recounts her birth at the time of the great Kanto earthquake of 1923 and how she was discovered as a child actress despite her mother's objection that she is too timid. She reveals how a strange young painter, a political outcast whose name she never discovers, gives her a key and then disappears, telling her that the key is "the most important thing there is". Chiyoko's dream of reuniting with her lover keeps her alive and becomes what her life is about. Unfolding more as emotion and mood than narrative, Kon takes us on a surreal journey through a series of films within films in which Chiyoko attempts to find her lost love, playing a princess, a ninja, a geisha, and even an astronaut. In the process, we witness a seamless tableau of Japan's history: the medieval period in the 15th and 16th centuries, the era when the Shogunate was in power, the Meiji period when the Emperor was restored, the Showa period before World War II, and the post-war occupation and recovery.

The line between events of Chiyoko's real life and scenes from her films is blurred and the film is difficult to follow on first viewing. To complicate matters even further, the interviewer, Genya, is cast in many roles in which he becomes almost a comic figure as Chiyoko's rescuer. Though the film is often puzzling, the search to recapture the defining moment in Chiyoko's life strikes a universal chord and we identify with her desperate quest. Though I found the ending somewhat unsatisfying, Millennium Actress is a complex and beautiful film and Susumu Hirasawa's hypnotic musical score adds to the blend of warmth, emotional power, and magical realism. Kon sees life as a big romantic movie full of melodrama, humor, and longing and seems to be saying that while there is often confusion between who we really are and the shifting roles we play in life, what remains constant is our longing for love.


34 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page