"I must go to him."
Millennium Actress
Review by Ross Anthony

This Saturday morning type jerky animation may take a few to five minutes to get used too. You know, head position doesn't move for 30 or more frames, but the mouth might. Like the old "Speed Racer." Still, the backgrounds are simply gorgeous, and after a while the rhythm of this hold-still animation begins to warmly hypnotize. That and the endearingly surreal story romancing romance, poking fun at the cliché while squarely falling in love with it at the same time.

The story begins with two documentary filmmakers seeking an interview with a beloved yet now elderly and reclusive actress. The two of them dive into her memories (cameras and more) and weave a single, sweet, but not always coherent, story of her history on the big screen. Actually, the director says, "The truth is sealed with lies," and that he's, "adopted the concept of intricately tangling truth and fiction to make the film more impactful."

The director goes on to explain a needling question no doubt all viewers will want to ask after the film..."I just wanted to make a movie like a 'trompe l'oeil.' Then I realized that the concept of an actress fit this project perfectly. A heroine with a desperately determined wish became necessary to consummate the episodes with the consistency to be intricately entangled. There is no specific actress as the foundation of Chiyoko: however, Setsuko Hara is somewhat similar to this concept as an actress who abruptly retires and disappears from the screen. I also had the image of Hideko Takamine, who had offered bright hopes to the nation in postwar Japan."

The premise (a woman desperately trapped in a lifelong search for her first true love) and surrealist progression create an entrancing film, but a strong "chase build" toward the end runs long and while the end itself has some interesting finishing twists, the production deserves a far more resonating finale.

Still-- very entertaining.

  • Millennium Actress. Copyright © 2003.
  • Starring the voices of Miyoko Shoji, Mami Koyama, Fumiko Orikasa, Shozo Iizuka, Masaya Onosaka, Syouko Tsuda.
  • Directed by Satoshi Kon.
  • Screenplay by Satoshi Kon, Sadayuki Murai.
  • Produced/Distributed at Go Fish Pictures.

Grade..........................A- (3/4)

Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:03:32 PDT