I absolutely love this film. This isn't a review, it's a gushing flow of wonder and admiration. And no wonder: Director Satoshi Kon also made Paprika, a movie I love so dearly that I refuse to transport its poster across state lines, lest it gets creases.
Millenium Actress is the story of a great actress named Chiyoko Fujiwara. After 30 years in seclusion, two men find the elderly Chiyoko in order to film a documentary of her life. Her tale unfolds, and the two men are thrown, literally, into a film-version of her life. Soon, this becomes a mix of all of the films she has ever starred in. Fiction blends with reality, which veers into meta-fiction, while still steering clear of outright fantasy (this dubious line between fiction/reality, dream/awakedness is also explored in Paprika). It is a tale of reality as perceived by Chiyoko, and the exegesis of her rise to stardom. It is an animated homage to all of cinematic history. And of course, like nearly all captivating films, it is a story of love.
(I will never be able to stop loving anime)
And there is the phrase that the film repeats constantly, which I can't quite get out of my head: "I hate you more than I can bear. And I love you more than I can bear. You are destined to burn in the flames of eternal love."
On this whole "love" theme (but mostly randomly), I present: my new favorite John Ashbery poem, which I think is the most unusual love poem I have ever read, and thus the most beautiful.
The New Higher
By John Ashbery
You meant more than life to me. I lived through
you not knowing, not knowing I was living.
I learned that you called for me. I came to where
you were living, up a stair. There was no one there.
No one to appreciate me. The legality of it
upset a chair. Many times to celebrate
we were called together and where
we had been there was nothing there,
nothing that is anywhere. We passed obliquely,
leaving no stare. When the sun was done muttering,
in an optimistic way, it was time to leave that there.
Blithely passing in and out of where, blushing shyly
at the tag on the overcoat near the window where
the outside crept away, I put aside the there and now.
Now it was time to stumble anew,
blacking out when time came in the window.
There was not much of it left.
I laughed and put my hands shyly
across your eyes. Can you see now?
Yes I can see I am only in the where
where the blossoming stream takes off, under your window.
Go presently you said. Go from my window.
I am in love with your window I cannot undermine
it, I said.