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Millennium Actress Blu-ray Review

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“Millennium Actress” is a rich anime film.

From director Satoshi Kon (best known for “Perfect Blue”) comes a 2D animated movie that is a complete 180 from the aforementioned dark, psychological thriller. The movie- “Millennium Actress.” The story of this film revolves around a 2-man documentary crew Genya Tachibana (an emotional fan) and Kyoji Ida (a sarcastic cameraman) that is doing a documentary movie about the legendary actress Chiyoko Fujiwara. Chiyoko (who is now an elderly woman) has agreed to do an interview for the film in exchange for a key which means a great deal to her. Through the interview, we learn about her storied cinematic career, life, childhood, and the lost love that has haunted her throughout her life.

Written by Satoshi Kon and Sadayuki Murai, 2002’s “Millennium Actress” is a structurally creative movie that is a surrealistic mix of reality and fantasy. The above synopsis really does not do this movie justice as the story unfolds in a decidedly unique fashion. One would think the format would be the documentary crew interviewing Chiyoko with her recalling her past, but that’s not what we see visually. Instead, we get a fascinating mixture of scenes from her movies that lead in to her past life that then lead in to the present day interview. It’s essentially movies within a movie.

As if the structure wasn’t engaging enough, the script has so much going on with it. It’s a love story, it’s a tragedy, it’s an ode to storytelling and cinema, it’s a celebration of acting and art, it’s a tale of loss. It’s all of these things wrapped in one. It might sound too ambitious on paper, but somehow Satoshi Kon makes it all work in a mere 87 minutes.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? The movie has been restored from a 4K transfer and the end result is a crisp and colorful print.

Audio Track: Japanese and English 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How do they sound? The English dub is passable, but the original language Japanese track is the better option (not to mention a better quality track).

Extras include a DVD copy and 4 separate interviews with English voice actors Abby Trott and Laura Post and producers Masao Maruyama and Taro Maki.

December 7, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , ,

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