Satoshi Kon Retrospective: Millennium Actress

Director: Satoshi Kon
Japan / 2001 / 87 min
In Japanese with English subtitles

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Perfect Blue director Satoshi Kon continues to explore the myth-making process and the deceptions and confusions that go into the formation of a star persona in the brilliant, boundary-blurring Millennium Actress. Begun in monochrome that slowly saturates with color, the film revolves around the encounter between a male documentarian and a legendary, reclusive performer, Chiyoko Fujiwara, who has long outlived the movie studio that groomed her for celebrity. Tracing Fujiwara’s steps from a stiflingly traditional upbringing through war-torn Manchuria and into the present day, Kon’s playful, ingenious narrative uses film-within-a-film conceits to give us the history of an actress who, through the roles she disappears into, embodies a history of Japan itself.