Animated Movies, Anime, Reviews

[REVIEW] ‘Millennium Actress’ (Classic Anime)

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Sometimes as anime fans we can get a little stuck on Studio Ghibli and forget about the other rich and beautiful films Japan has given us. One such film, 2002’s Millennium Actress, is coming to theaters for a 2 day Fathom Event on August 13 and 16th. This is a special chance to see a stunning work of art from famed director and animator Satoshi Kon (Perfect Blue, Paprika) on the big screen and something I highly recommend making time for.

Millennium Actress tells the story of a reporter, Genya Tachibana, and his cameraman Kyoji Ida as they interview a famous movie star named Chiyoko Fujiwara. As they interview her we see her memories play out in the past while an earthquake occurs upsetting the present. Genya also gives Chiyoko a key at the start of the interview, and we see in flashback how that key is important to the many events of her life. The clever thing is that Genya and Kyoji show up in the memories as if they are kind of guardian angels throughout the story.

As you can see, the animation in Millennium Actress is absolutely stunning. I love the way the colors pop with the monochromatic characters and how nearly every frame has 3 or more layers of animation going on. We also see influences of traditional Japanese art mixed with modern more stark imagery. It’s stunning.

With the Fathom Events screenings you can see both a new English dub (August 19) or the subbed (August 13th). I always recommend watching in subbed to get the full experience but either way you definitely should make time to see this gorgeous film. It’s not that long at 87 minutes and takes you on a journey of Chiyoko’s life and the many things that happened to Japan in those years. The music by Susumu Hirasawa has a modern electronic edge to it that works perfectly for the narrative. It’s really a film you will never forget.

Make sure to grab your tickets for Millennium Actress. You won’t regret it! They will also have a ‘conversation with Millennium Actress producers Taro Maki and Masao Maruyama after the film airs.” Go to Fathom Events to find out where it is playing near you and how you can experience this classic anime film.


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About Rachel Wagner

Rachel is a rottentomatoes approved film critic and podcaster. She loves all things animation and does a monthly podcast on classic Disney films and on obscure animation at Rachel's Reviews. She also is the founder and lead host of The Hallmarkies Podcast. She grew up with mainstream classics like The Little Mermaid and The Simpsons but also loves indie and anime fare like Song of the Sea and Your Name. Most important to her is discussing all kinds of film and TV shows with her friends and all of you. Follow Rachel on twitter at @rachel_reviews and on her blog