beneath the visual implications of Satoshi Kon's "Millennium
Actress" lies one insistent and powerful theme
he conveys within every scene. It is a message that,
hopefully, resonates within everyone. It is a message
of innocence and adolescence; a message that never loses
its virtue or vision, even in old age. Nor will it ever
does he or she love me? It is the very universal
and heartfelt message of first love.
Fujiwara searches for the love of her life. Courtesy
the artistic style of "trompe l'oeil" (to
trick or fool the eye) to express so naked a demand,
Kon speaks with the vocabulary of the heart in the form
of a poetic retelling of Chiyoko Fujiwara's unique life.
The incorporation of these two elements creates a special
magic within the film.
the beginning we are privy to the emotional context
of Chiyoko's young love and life as an actress as seen
through her own mind's eye. Every aspect centers around
a phantom stranger of unrequited love. Through Chiyoko's
lovelorn eyes, we watch the last five centuries of Japan's
history revolve around her endless search of an anonymous
artist and the object of her affections. The non-linear
plot is so inextricably woven within the tapestry of
her former life and film career that there is at times
no true, visible distinction between the two.
butters us up with exquisite transitions laced with
evocative superimposed images and match cuts, blurring
the linear lines of past and present tense while fusing
Genya Tachibana (interviewer) and Kyoji Ida (cameraman),
the two documentary filmmakers intent on uncovering
Chiyoko's mysterious disappearance, into active participants
in her recollections. Genya, familiar with all her films
and completely enamored by her, involves himself in
her tale in every time period presented, reenacting
several benevolent characters opposite Chiyoko.
Iizuku and Masaya Onosaka's (the voices of Genya Tachibana
and Kyoji Ida, respectively) humorous interactions counterbalance
the swift pace of the quick sequences and flashes where
point of views overlap. Eventually, pieces pull themselves
out of the convoluted data as they progress through
the emotion-vision quest.
Fujiwara is on a quest to unlock the special key
that her first love left behind. Courtesy of
film evolves in a way that it pieces itself together
through the use of symbolism, transitions and themes.
Amidst the multiple layers of story-telling and complexities
lies a simple purity that binds the film's seemingly
internal processing is communicative of Kon's storytelling
style, possessing an organic streamlining visual symmetry
that does nothing to hinder the viewing experience.
His voice is her life.
Courtesy of Animated-movies.net
for one moment does Kon cease to care intimately, through
the smallest detail of placing of a mole on Chiyoko's
face to keep visual continuity throughout the ages,
to the powerful symbolism of closure near the film's
end when the last wall and remnants of the studio Chiyoko
helped sustain during her career, is knocked down, moments
before she passes away. With practiced ease he indicates
that the elements of the film are only tools to be manipulated.
Actress" rises beyond animated fiction into the
realm of humanity. The viewer is left with the emotional
retelling of a symbolic character's life of sentimental
pursuits that ultimately claims the human heart.