A few weeks back, Sean (The Second Son) and I watched Satoshi Kon's Millennium Actress. Kon is an amazing animator and artist (in nearly every way you might think to use those terms), so it came as no surprise to us that it was brilliant stuff, both visually and in its mind-bending temporal, structural, and emotional manipulations.
I don't think I appreciated the precision (and power) of Kon's manipulations the first time I saw this one, which shares some extraordinary thematic and artistic connections with his other films. And I surely did not recognize just how emotionally resonant it was, or that its resonance (and relevance) would increase over the years. That's true of all his works, really, since the question(s) of how we live out our "multiplicity of lives" grow(s) keener as technology progresses(?).
Lest its philosophical strengths and interests seem too much the focus of my thoughts, though, I should reiterate that it is wonderfully, gorgeously animated. Kon was a true master of the form, and while it can be difficult to determine his "best" work (as it is with anyone who displays such artistic mastery), I think this is probably his finest, in no small part because its simultaneously complex yet accessible. ...at least that's what I think at the moment. Ask me again in five minutes, though, and who knows what you'll get.
It's currently streaming on TUBITV (free, with some commercials).
A movie studio is being torn down. TV interviewer Genya Tachibana has tracked down its most famous star, Chiyoko Fujiwara, who has been a recluse since she left acting some 30 years ago. Tachibana delivers a key to her, and it causes her to reflect on her career; as she's telling the story, Tachibana and his long-suffering cameraman are drawn in.