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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
35
4.2 out of 5 stars
Millennium Actress [DVD]
Format: DVD|Change
Price:£27.95+ Free shipping


on 5 July 2015
This movie is great, and if this was just a review for the movie I would give it five stars, however the UK version by Manga is not great.

The US Region 1 release was only in Japanese with subtitles.
The UK Region 2 release added an English dub, which made changes to when the characters were speaking, and what they were saying.

Unfortunately there's only one set of subtitles which are for the English dub, so if you are watching in Japanese they are often out of sync with the audio, and it is obvious even without speaking Japanese that it is not a proper translation.

For example, sometimes a character will just say one or two words, which will result in a long sentence of subtitles.
See the attached image for a comparison of the same scene in both versions.

If you are planning on watching in Japanese, I don't recommend the UK release.
review image
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on 27 May 2013
if you are out for an emotional experience without being afraid of being left at the end, tear-drenched and feeling all strange inside, this is definitely the movie.
It also has has an epic soundtrack.
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on 12 February 2013
Such a sweet story to watch over and over, a beautiful story line. It never gets too old to watch.
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on 13 April 2006
Visually stunning, beautifully crafted and heart rending animation, that will not disappoint the sentimental of film viewers out there. This is a perfect example of Anime at its most mature and intelligent and should if justice be done be enjoyed by more than just your anime faithful. As with most japanese animation it truly has to be watched in its original language to be fully appreciated, and anyone who shuns it because they don't like subtitles then i guess you really don't get foreign film at all....your loss. On the subject of subtitles if anyone from the manga label is reading, we really don't need a description of whistle blowing and rocks falling, thunder cracking etc, this isn't subtitles for the hard of hearing, believe it or not we can actually hear whats going on. Other than that fault top stuff :)
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on 29 September 2008
Before a more detailed review, I'll state these things for the quick Amazon browser:

1. This film is beautiful. The backgrounds are fantastically painted, the characters look and show expressions far more realistically than most anime, and there is a great deal of visual variation due to the range of scenes represented.

2. It's a heart wrenching love story.

3. It has an astounding soundtrack.

4. There's even a ninja swordfight.

5. It's an absolute steal at its current price.

More detail:

Genya is obsessed with Chiyoko (the "Millennium Actress" of the title) and her films, and can't believe his luck at being able to finally interview the mysterious and reclusive actress. His cameraman - who I feel is a representation of the first time viewer - is not so sure of Chiyoko's magnificence, and he makes a fine counterweight to Genya's unrestrained fandom throughout the film.

A strange thing happens when Genya presents Chiyoko with mysterious key - it unlocks memories that are so vivid that he and the cameraman are transported to view what appears to be an amalgamation of real life and film. The two men are taken on a wild ride through turbulent Japanese history and the span of Chiyoko's film career. One moment they are sitting sipping tea in a gracious old lady's living room, then they are filming a petulant young girl, begging her mother to let her be an actress. Scenes transition without warning.

Without an anchor, the watcher would be left adrift. Fortunately, there is a common theme running throughout every scenario - Chiyoko's search for a lost love.

The film has an almost hypnotic, repetitive quality as the same scenario is played out again and again in different periods, different styles, different films. This is cited as a flaw by another reviewer here, I think is an intentional thematic device. It worked well for me, but I understand how it might slightly irritate some viewers.

Director Satoshi Kon somehow manages to pay tribute to myriad styles of film without explicitly copying anything. The opening scene, for example, is reminiscent of the visual style of Kubrick. The scenes in the Edo and Meiji periods of Japan are laden with the influence of Akira Kurosawa, but again, they do not borrow brashly.

The film is a visual feast. Great character designs are animated over painterly backdrops. Colourful kimonos and flowers leap from the screen, and the red of a young girl's scarf is artfully muted by winter. The periods the film captures are distinct, and all equally beautiful.

I could write more, but I don't expect many people will bother reading this much! I can only say - do yourself a favour: get this film, it has everything.
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on 10 February 2004
I came to find Millennium Actress as I was branching out from the wonderful Ghibli films, which was my first proper look at Anime. Satoshi Kon previously did the violent Perfect Blue and has since done the Tokyo Godfathers comedy, currently doing the rounds in US cinemas.
Though it contains the basic element of Perfect Blue - ie the life of an actress, it could not be more different. MA tells the story of Chioyoko Fujiwara, an elderly woman and one-time famous Japanese actress. Nearing the end of her days, and out of the limelight for the last 30 years, she allows an interview by two documentary makers producing a special piece as the studio where she worked is demolished.
The story then goes back to Chioyoko's childhood and works through the many twists in her life until the moment she became a recluse. As a neat twist, the film maker and his cameraman begin to exist and even interact with her memories.
The storytelling is very seamless. The viewer has to pick apart what they see and determine for themselves whether the action comes from actual memories, from pertinent scenes in one of Chioyoko's films, or a romanticised mix of the two. In the middle of the film especially, this can be pretty hard, but Kon usually leaves some sort of subtle clue on the screen. Once the middle of the film is passed, realities become more distinct, and the ending is melancholy happy-sad and well worth it.
I really liked this film. It once again proved that there are more ways to view animated films beyond 'kiddies stuff' or 'teenage-oriented swearathon'. It is intelligent, original, and mature, and rightly won many awards alongside the equally excellent Spirited Away. Be warned though - its Japanese with English Subs, but no less of a film for it.
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on 10 February 2004
I came to find Millennium Actress as I was branching out from the wonderful Ghibli films, which was my first proper look at Anime. Satoshi Kon previously did the violent Perfect Blue and has since done the Tokyo Godfathers comedy, currently doing the rounds in US cinemas.
Though it contains the basic element of Perfect Blue - ie the life of an actress, it could not be more different. MA tells the story of Chioyoko Fujiwara, an elderly woman and one-time famous Japanese actress. Nearing the end of her days, and out of the limelight for the last 30 years, she allows an interview by two documentary makers producing a special piece as the studio where she worked is demolished.
The story then goes back to Chioyoko's childhood and works through the many twists in her life until the moment she became a recluse. As a neat twist, the film maker and his cameraman begin to exist and even interact with her memories.
The storytelling is very seamless. The viewer has to pick apart what they see and determine for themselves whether the action comes from actual memories, from pertinent scenes in one of Chioyoko's films, or a romanticised mix of the three. In the middle of the film especially, this can be pretty hard, but Kon usually leaves some sort of subtle clue on the screen. Once the middle of the film is passed, realities become more distinct, and the ending is melancholy happy-sad and well worth it.
I really liked this film. It once again proved that there are more ways to view animated films beyond 'kiddies stuff' or 'teenage-oriented swearathon'. It is intelligent, original, and mature, and rightly won many awards alongside the equally excellent Spirited Away. Be warned though - its Japanese with English Subs, but no less of a film for it.
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on 22 January 2011
I am not a film critic and cannot explain my opinion in clever words.But here it is from an ordinary everyday middle-aged person: Artwork very beautiful! Pace: sometimes a little slow. Story: All about infatuation and the chase for the 'ONE BIG LOVE' cleverly incorporating different japanese social history through the decades. In the beginning I was wondering were it would lead too...by the end I was moved and very satiesfied with the story telling....A film to watch more than once!
Not for young children,they would be bored.....but certainly a very good addition to my collection of Animee.....
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on 15 June 2006
This film is absolutely fantastic. Really beautifully drawn and entertaining. The music is wonderful as well.

I definitely don't even nearly understand all the subtleties of this film. I've watched it a fair few times and it still confuses me. I do love it though.

One of the best things about this film is that it skips through different time periods. So you'll see Chiyoko dressed as a Geisha, then an Empress of a different period, then a ninja surrounded by samurai, then it's set in the war. Definitely a feast for the eyes.
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on 1 June 2010
`Millennium Actress' is an unusual film, with a unique storyline and with stunning animation. Chiyoko is an actress recounting her life story to a film crew and as she tells it, the films she has starred in and her real life become intertwined. The film crew go back in time with her as she acts in various films and searches for a lost love. This can get quite confusing at times, but once you get your head around the premise this makes for a unique and original style of film making. The animation is wonderful and is all the better for being hand drawn rather than the CGI pieces so often produced these days. The soundtrack compliments the film perfectly and the director deliberately requested this respected composer to work on this film for him and it is a stronger film when the soundtrack is coupled with the animation on screen. There is a `making of' feature as an extra on this disc which gives a deeper insight into the film and shows how the film developed. This is definitely a film that will get better with repeated viewings and whilst that first viewing may leave you mildly baffled, when you come to it again you will appreciate it for it's depth and beauty. Definitely a required DVD for your anime collection.

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