Millennium Actress is a Japanese animated movie that stretches the movie-analogy machine to breaking point. With most movies, you can say something like “it’s like Seven Samurai in space” or “it’s like King Kong but with a robot”. With Millennium Actress, I can make no analogies because I have seen nothing else like it.
The movie tells the story of a Japanese actress through three parallel story-lines that are blurred together. In the “present”, the old actress is being interviewed by a producer and his cameraman. In flashbacks, we see what her life was like, but scenes from her life are intercut with scenes from her movies to tell a dream-like story.
I’m doing it no justice at all in this review, but please know that it touches a nerve for me, the way Big Fish does: that you can’t tell the story of anyone’s life by just relaying the facts. Sometimes you have to tell a good story to convey who someone was. Facts are waypoints.