Focus on Kon Satoshi Millennum Actress

© 2001 Millennium Actress Production Committee

Focus on Kon Satoshi: Millennium Actress

Focus on Kon Satoshi Millennum Actress

© 2001 Millennium Actress Production Committee

This event is fully booked

To start exploring the filmography of renowned anime master Kon Satoshi, Japan House London is delighted to present two free screenings of the multi-awarded film Millennium Actress (2001), the first in our new film season Focus on Kon Satoshi.

Millennium Actress is an animation film exploring the themes of subjectivity and spectatorship. It tells the story of a documentary filmmaker investigating the life of an elderly, reclusive actress named Fujiwara Chiyoko. This character is said to be loosely based on the lives of iconic actresses Hara Setsuko and Takamine Hideko (both of whom have been muses to historic directors Ozu Yasujirō and Naruse Mikio respectively). The camera crew who visits the legendary actress is subsequently drawn into a fictional world where her life and the movies she appeared in start to intersect, in a playful narrative that makes brilliant use of ‘film-within-a-film' tropes.

Kon seamlessly connects reality and fiction through a convoluted series of flashbacks, dream sequences and time travelling from the early stages of Chiyoko’s career throughout World War II to a futuristic space age. This leaves the audience wondering whether the images are her actual memories, scenes from a movie set or simply fictionalised fantasies.

The film is also considered to be one of the most remarkable tributes to classic movies in the history of Japanese cinema, as it pays homage to masterpieces such as Kurosawa Akira's Yojimbo, Throne of Blood and Ran, Kinoshita Keisuke's 24 Eyes (1954), Ozu Yasujirō’s oeuvre and a robotic lizard reminiscent of Gojira (Godzilla).

It is also filled with subtle references to lesser-known Japanese cinema classics like the long-running Tora-san film series and genres less explored abroad like gendaigeki (films on contemporary life) or seishun eiga (‘youth films’). The film boasts countless awards, including the Grand Prize in the Japan Media Arts Festival in 2001, which it shared with Miyazaki Hayao's Spirited Away.

Kon’s second feature-length film and first original work, Millennium Actress is also his last movie directed using hand-drawn animation. Most of the scenes are based on his own layout, and act as a way for the director and his audience to construct and enforce a connection to the history of cinema in Japan through a unique, world-bending perspective.

This film is in Japanese with English subtitles. Duration: approx. 87 minutes. This film is rated PG. General viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children.

Booking tickets

Please choose your preferred screening date and time and click on the button to book your free ticket. 

Sunday 11 September 2022, 15:00-16:30 Event closed
Saturday 17 September 2022, 15:00-16:30 Fully booked

Guests who are booked to attend the screening can also enjoy 10% off drinks at The Stand on their way in.