Friday, December 14, 2007

Memory made material: Millennium Actress

by Ryland Walker Knight

stretch marks

I don't know much about anime, per se, nor do I know much about film history, per se, but I know plenty about both to know that Satoshi Kon's Millennium Actress is one of the best movies I've seen about either subject. Beyond that, Kon's film is simply one of the best movies about movies I've seen, even if it's a little film. Almost immediately after I finished watching the film I wrote this in an email to a friend: "Half as long and twice as incandescent (maybe), it's an apt Janus companion to INLAND EMPIRE." That's as good a pullquote as I can give you. The bigger argument is congruous with Kon's Paprika (and Lynch's film): life is movies because movies make memory material. What strikes me as more impressive about Millennium Actress, and what links it to Lynch's film, is that it goes a step further to say life is acting, which is the material of movies. Both movies go on to complicate this premise by their relationship to their lead actresses, but let's stick to the premise for now, due to my lack of time today. (Also of note: the wood of the actress' home, that build its beams and its cabinets, makes time, and hence memories, a material framework in Kon's picture.) The difference between the two artists, and their art, is that there is a giddiness -- a delight! -- amidst the perils of the adventure, for Kon; David Lynch is funny, but that man sees scarier demons than most would like to look at. Most of the magic in Kon's film is in the editing, and how the images move (or appear to move), so these stills can't quite do the film justice. Still, I thought I'd share some images that stuck out for me. (Plus, here's a kinda cheesy trailer.)

wood marks
a framework
still life?
so close
evil marks
ride along
push that picture forward
c'mon, it parodies me
[C'mon, this last image parodies me, right?]


  1. I love watching anime movies. They are the the best movies ever !

  2. I appreciate more watching anime films. the best movies ever.

  3. All is about genres, and this is a real shame, We can do the best try to improve our way to watching movies, specially this kind of productions, and we can add the marketing industry too, I don't believe in this kind of genres, I just believe in art! 23jj