Millennium Actress

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~ Chiyoko: Millennium Actress ~

 

First, this movie was much more than I expected it to be. And sadly, it has been denied much of the popularity and publicity it deserves. This movie came out in the same year as the huge mega-million blockbuster, Spirited Away and was sadly somewhat cast into the shadow of this mega film.

Satoshi Kon, director of the animated masterpiece Perfect Blue, made a comeback with this film, combing the camera and perspective genius of Perfect Blue with the magical storytelling elements of a Miyazaki film. The character development and portrayal is superb and the musical score sets the mood perfectly.

The main plot is the story of a girl name Chiyoko Fujiwara who shelters a mysterious man during the turmoil of World War II. In one night, a mysterious connection sparks between young Chiyo and the man who is apparently a painter. The next morning, the man mysteriously vanishes, leaving behind only a scarf and a key. Chiyoko is devastated and makes a desperate run to the train station after being clued in by an old houseworker that he made it to the train safely after being pursued by the police. Missing the train and feeling downhearted, she suddenly remembers that he said he was headed to Manchuria. With that in mind, she accepts a role as an actress (much to the disapproval of her mother) because the film was to be shot in Manchuria. This story is being re-told to the movie watcher and interviewers by the much older Chiyoko (similar to the re-telling of the story in Titanic by the older female character-but not alike in any other way).

The way the story is told is very complex and hard to describe in words, but the films Chiyo starred in reflected what really happened in her life. I hate using other people’s words, but is a “play within a play” movie. To truly understand, you must watch.

The lives of the interviewer and Chiyoko’s become surprisingly interwoven as her determination and faith for her lost love become more and more clear and she steadily grows older. Ultimately, she begins to question why she searched her whole life for him in the first place.

    Overall, I was delighted and emotionally moved by this movie. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to see a well-written, well-told and heart wrenching anime film about love, longing and the challenges of growing up.

Rating:
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~ by 100yen :D on September 29, 2007.

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