7.9/10
21,360
68 user 74 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:

Satoshi Kon

Writers:

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

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)
Learn more

More Like This 

Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 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 | Drama | Fantasy
    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 8/10 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
Paranoia Agent (TV Mini-Series 2004)
Animation | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 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
Memories (1995)
Animation | Comedy | Fantasy
    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
Magnetic Rose (1995)
Animation | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

"Magnetic Rose" is about what happens when a deep space corporate freighter is called upon to investigate a distress signal from what ought to be a derelict space station. The space station... See full summary »

Director: Kôji Morimoto
Stars: Shigeru Chiba, Ami Hasegawa, Masato Hirano
Animation | Action | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A cyborg policewoman and her partner hunt a mysterious and powerful hacker called the Puppet Master.

Director: Mamoru Oshii
Stars: Atsuko Tanaka, Iemasa Kayumi, Akio Ôtsuka
Akira (1988)
Animation | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

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

Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo
Stars: Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama
Animation | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In the year 2032, Batô, a cyborg detective for the anti-terrorist unit Public Security Section 9, investigates the case of a female robot--one created solely for sexual pleasure--who slaughtered her owner.

Director: Mamoru Oshii
Stars: Akio Ôtsuka, Atsuko Tanaka, Tamio Ôki
Animation | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 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
Angel's Egg (1985)
Animation | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A mysterious young girl wanders a desolate, otherworldly landscape, carrying a large egg.

Director: Mamoru Oshii
Stars: Mako Hyôdô, Jinpachi Nezu, Kei'ichi Noda
Metropolis (2001)
Animation | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

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

Director: Rintaro
Stars: Toshio Furukawa, Scott Weinger, Yuka Imoto

Photos

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:

View content advisory »
Edit

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

If the space mission spoken of in the film is the Apollo 11 mission, then the launch date should have been July 16, not July 20. See more »

Quotes

Senior Manager of Ginei: [the director presents Chiyoko with Eiko] Chiyoko is in the lead
Chiyoko Fujiwara: [Making a reverence] Nice to meet you
Senior Manager of Ginei: I'm sure you recognize to Eiko Shimao, Our main star
Eiko Shimao: [Looking at Chiyoko despectively] Hello, Chieko
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Paprika (2006) See more »

User Reviews

 
more originality, life, individuality, and heart than in many movies being made in Hollywood
18 March 2004 | by tedneSee all my reviews

Chiyoko Fujiwara: even her names evokes 1,000 years of Japanese history beginning with the Fujiwara clan who dominated Japan a millennium ago as she dominated Japanese movies. The story begins with an elderly actress who recounts her life and career to a Quixotically worshipful producer and his Sancho Panza-like cameraman. Film juxtaposes with reality; and the triumphs and tragedies of one actress meld into those of Japan itself; objectivity and fantasy mock each other and dance with one another. At one moment the cameraman is making a pungent comment about cornball emotions, and the next moment he is dodging burning arrows from one of her movies. Perhaps, Chiyoko really is a woman cursed or perhaps blessed to endure 1,000 years of unrequited love. Perhaps the mysterious "human-rights activist" that she pursues through the centuries, and through one movie after another, represents an ever-receding ideal of love, truth, and human dignity that is yearned for by individuals and nations alike. They met just briefly, he gave her the key to "the most important thing in the world," and Chiyoko and the film characters she plays spend the next 1,000 years and the rest of her film career and the rest of her life trying to return it.

"Millennium Actress" and the techniques of animation were made for each other. Live-action could not possibly have created this stunning plunge though the centuries nearly as well, nor have depicted the transformation of a beautiful young women into a beautiful old woman. So-called live-action movies would have buried a live actress under layers of Yoda-like plastic to achieve the same effect.

Presumably you will be watching this on DVD; after you have watched this movie through once or twice, go back and select scene 12 and just watch that: it begins with an apprentice Geisha, (as played by Chiyoko), risking everything to pursue the human-rights activist (in this generation he is a rebel Samurai.) A merciless Javert-like pursuer barges in to ruin everything, but a Quixotic stranger rescues her for sake of idealistic love and sets her free to ride through the land of Japan to continue her search. She rides through Hokusai landscapes and through the battles of 19th-Century Japan. She continues undaunted even though the wheel of her curse keeps turning and is symbolized by increasingly modern modes of transportation: carriages, trains, bicycles; the splendor and tragedy of Japanese history whizzes by and still her journey continues. Her eternal quest for freedom turns into a freedom in itself, and -- by the way -- the medium of animation gives a mighty leap from the Saturday-morning ghetto to which American imaginations has confined it and shows off freedoms that live-action could never do as well.

This movie is action-filled but never manic; emotional but never overwrought; thought-provoking but never airy. The unpleasant little word Surrealism comes to mind -- it's unpleasant because it often evokes elitism, self-indulgence, and confusion. But "Millennium Actress" is never neurotic, never smug, and always invites the audience to join in the fun of mixing up film, memory, history, and desire, in surprising ways. There are enough delightful coincidences and plot twists to entrance an admirer of Shakespeare or Dickens. The musical score is excellent. The quality of animation is excellent, and these characters have more originality, life, individuality, and heart than in many movies being made in Hollywood.

After you have checked this out, look into Satoshi Kon's most recent movie "Tokyo Godfathers." Then investigate the movies of Hayao Miyazaki, who is the world's greatest maker of animated films, and also Miyazaki's fellow geniuses of Studio Ghibli. 9/10


78 of 88 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 68 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese | English

Release Date:

14 September 2002 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Millennium Actress See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,732, 14 September 2003

Gross USA:

$262,891

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$262,891
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed