7.9/10
23,697
75 user 81 critic

Millennium Actress (2001)

Sennen joyû (original title)
Trailer
0:31 | Trailer
A TV interviewer and his cameraman meet a former actress and travel through her memories and career.

Director:

Satoshi Kon

Writers:

Satoshi Kon (original story), Sadayuki Murai (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Miyoko Shôji Miyoko Shôji ... Chiyoko Fujiwara (70's) (voice)
Mami Koyama ... Chiyoko Fujiwara (20-40's) (voice)
Fumiko Orikasa ... Chiyoko Fujiwara (10-20's) (voice)
Shôzô Îzuka Shôzô Îzuka ... Genya Tachibana (voice)
Shouko Tsuda Shouko Tsuda ... Eiko Shimao (voice)
Hirotaka Suzuoki ... Junichi Ootaki (voice)
Hisako Kyôda ... Mother (voice)
Kan Tokumaru Kan Tokumaru ... Senior Manager of Ginei (voice)
Tomie Kataoka Tomie Kataoka ... Mino (voice)
Takkô Ishimori Takkô Ishimori ... Head Clerk (voice)
Masamichi Satô Masamichi Satô ... Young Genya (voice)
Masaya Onosaka 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 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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cranes appear frequently throughout the film, typically with Chiyoko in the same frame. In Japanese culture, cranes represent longevity and fidelity, and are said to live for a thousand years. See more »

Goofs

In the film, a small tremor occurs before a major earthquake. Usually this should happen in reverse, even in an area of high seismic activity such as Japan. See more »

Quotes

Chiyoko Fujiwara: The full moon...
The Man of the Key: It won't appear tomorrow, but I like This moon better. After the full moon begins to wane. But after fourteen nights, starting tomorrow, I hope to see it again. I gotta go.
Chiyoko Fujiwara: But, you are hurt!
The Man of the Key: My friends are fighting in Manchuria. The painting is not of much help.
See more »

Connections

References 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) See more »

User Reviews

Outland Empire
31 May 2007 | by tedgSee 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.


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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese | English

Release Date:

14 September 2002 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Millennium Actress See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,732, 14 September 2003

Gross USA:

$262,891

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$262,891
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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