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Millennium Actress

Readers who have been with us for quite a while, I'm not sure how many among you guys are actually aware of my debut article with milkcananime. It's perfectly fine if you don't know. I would like to bring forward my intrigue of time travel with another fine piece of cinema. The anime is called 'Millennium Actress'.

The idea of time travel has never left my mind, probably because I still harbour some unfulfilled wishes and such. Also, there are things that just wouldn't go away even with time. Of course, time travel defines much deeper than the common mainstream fare. As individuals, we have our own interpretation of what time travel means as well. For Millennium Actress, time travel simply happens in 'real time', right in front of our eyes.   

Unlike 'The Girl Who Leapt Through Time', there isn't any concrete scientific element behind the time travelling in Millennium Actress. As the veteran actress begins her storytelling, her reminiscences magically unlock those doors and transport both the documentary director and his cameraman back to those days. To some degree, there is a strikingly brutal realism underlying throughout as each chapter of her life unfolds. There are also moments when everybody temporarily returns to the present, due to pivotal occurrences.

That said, however, the actual premise of Millennium Actress isn't quite about time travelling. Through the veteran actress' stories, we understand the simple yet tragic reason behind her decision to enter the movie industry. Her determination to chase after the painter who had given her a key to 'something very precious' prior to his escape from the authorities had brought her through decades of acting and many films. Along the way, we also discover the twists and turns which added on to the bittersweetness of the actress' life in and out of acting. Unfortunately, the actress never did realise the ultimate truth, yet for some reason we get that she's still considered happy particularly towards the final chapter of her life. The scene where she played an astronaut bravely taking off in a space shuttle actually defines several things. Here are my interpretations:

1. The end of Life; the beginning of Eternity
I believe that the actress actually knew at some point (not explicitly shown in the film) that she might never locate the mysterious painter even with her continuous efforts. Her gradual public identity and fame wouldn't have allowed her anyway. Yet she had continued to remain positive throughout. When she eventually faced her own death, she didn't shed a tear. She even consoled the documentary director. The transition to the space shuttle scene could be seen as the journey to Eternity, where she would finally be reunited with the mysterious painter, and discover the meaning of the key.

2. Being freed from the knots in one's heart
In other words, letting go. This sort of overlaps with the previous point. The actress had searched for the painter for years and in vain. The key that she had held on to so dearly was misplaced at some point, and an unavoidable twist revealed the selfish motives of mankind. Also, a seemingly persistent vision had bothered the actress for the longest time. After her retirement from the movie industry, it would seem natural to assume that the inner demons had subsided. However, the ultimate freedom could only be validated if the actress had been completely untangled from everything, which would also lead to the significance of the space shuttle sequence.

Millennium Actress is an abstract piece of art, yet a lot of elements in the film make the story engaging and relatively friendly to the mainstream audience. For those like myself who have taken away much more than just entertainment, what are some of the things that have intrigued you?

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

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