Combustible Celluloid
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With: (voices) Miyoko Shoji, Mami Koyama, Fumiko Orikasa, Shozo Iizuka, Masaya Onosaka, Syouko Tsuda
Written by: Satoshi Kon, Sadayuki Murai, based on a story by Satoshi Kon
Directed by: Satoshi Kon
MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements, violence and brief mild language
Language: Japanese with English subtitles
Running Time: 87
Date: 07/28/2001

Millennium Actress (2003)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Performance Heart

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This anime may not boast the world's smoothest animation, but Millennium Actress does have an unusual and interesting new take, setting it apart from the genre's standard post-apocalyptic violence.

A documentary filmmaker, Genya Tachibana (voiced by Shouzou Iizuka), and his one-man camera crew track down an aged and elusive legendary Japanese actress, Chiyoko Fujiwara (voiced by Fumiko Orikasa as a child, Mami Koyama as a young woman and Miyoko Shoji as an old lady).

He presents her with a key and learns the secret of her life story; she spent her entire career pining away for the love of a boy she only met once. Director Satoshi Kon (Perfect Blue) flashes back to the past to tell the story and enters our filmmakers into the fray, not only as passive viewers, but also as active participants.

To complicate matters, a younger version of Tachibana becomes a character as well.

Kon and co-writer Sadayuki Murai's cleverly slippery story bursts with real passion, overcoming the lack of technical achievement.

DVD Details: A making-of doc and a trailer.

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