December 10, 2019
Some viewers of anime will most likely think Que Sera Cera when looking back at those fond memories offered in Satoshi Kon’s seminal classic Millennium Actress (千年女優). The upcoming home video release this week is perfect for the Holiday season; watching this film is much like catching It’s A Wonderful Life. Both works are classics for a reason.
The anime was the Grand Prize winner in the Japan Agency of Cultural Affairs Media Arts Festival back when it first released in 2002. It also took home the Ofuji Noburo Award at the 2002 Mainichi Film Awards, and honoured with the Orient Express Award at the 2001 Festival de Cine de Sitges.
This rerelease is a remastered which saw limited theatrical release over the summer. For the winter, it will live again.
The story recounts the life and times of Chiyoko Fujiwara, an actress who retired from the spotlight 30 years prior. She is Japan’s answer to Doris Day; the only difference is while one is the recluse, the other was an activist. Filmmaker Genya Tachibana and his assistant are tasked with interviewing its reclusive star for a new documentary, and learns she has always had an attraction towards an unnamed individual. He won her heart, but fate had other plans for her. She became the golden child of Japanese cinema and worked in many a film. Reality is warped because Kon decided to have her stories come to life around the two documentarians.
As Chiyoko recalls her life, the two get to see her stories come to life in a truly spectacular way. They feel it! But what makes this release special are the interviews included from not only the Japanese voice over artists but also their American actress counterparts. They not only discuss what made this anime special but also in what drew them to becoming Chiyoko.
- Masao Maruyama – full interview
- Taro Maki – full interview
- Laura Post (Eiko) – interview
- Abby Trott (Young Chiyoko) – interview
Fans ordering directly from Shout! Factory will receive a limited-edition lithograph, available while supplies last.