Synopsis: 2001 Japanese animated film. Directed by Satoshi Kon (pronounced "Cone"), animated by Studio Madhouse. A documentary director interviews a former actress, Chiyoko, about her heydays in film during WWII. Millenium Actress has the immersive ephemereal feel that Kon is an expert at.
Millenium Actress gives me that vivid meta-feeling I get when watching Charlie Kaufman's films (Adaptation especially). The story follows two documentary makers as they interview actress-turned-hermit Chiyoko and slowly become recurring characters in her stories from the past. Fiction and reality become so intertwined that it becomes difficult to tell which is which, but the recurring plotline is recognizable, and is expertly given a new twist each time it appears.
I really enjoyed Millenium Actress. The animation is beautiful, and the various WWII film stories manage to incorporate fairy tales, science fiction, and historical dramas into the plot seamlessly. I watched this movie recently in order to gear up for Kon's new film Paprika opening in the U.S. later in May. It can be a bit difficult to grasp some of the things going on in Millenium Actress, so watch it with an alert mind (be careful, Nick fell asleep during the movie, but that's mostly his fault).
Beautiful, award-winning, with a compelling story (and it's #14 on IMDB's Top 50 Animated Films) - you should totally netflix it.
Millenium Actress Trailer (Quicktime)