Millennium Actress | 2003
Chiyoko Fujiwara was once a major movie star who dominated the Japanese cinema world. Thirty years ago, she abruptly disappeared from the screen and from public view. One of her greatest admirers, Genya Tachibana, is a documentary filmmaker who has traveled to the isolated mountain lodge to interview her. There, he presents her with an old key; and as if the key has opened a door to her memories, Chiyoko starts telling the story of her life. As her story unfolds, she seems to transcend time and space, traveling freely through the corridors of fictional movies and the boundaries between reality which made up so much of her life as an actress. As Chiyoko relates the story of her life and career in cinema, through each role and in every era, Chiyoko has only one wish-to see her first love, an injured artist and painter she had helped escape from government authorities in the 1920s as a young girl. Chiyoko had risked everything to hide the mysterious stranger in her storage house. Before she could learn his identity and mission, however, he left he--but not before he presented her with an all-important key. From that moment on, she determinedly keeps running--in real life, and in her movies--to find him, believing that they will meet again and she will learn the true meaning of the key. She never forgot this romantic fugitive. As her identity changes with each movie role, so d s that of her true love. Yet Chiyoko keeps running after him through the passage of time. Wherever she g s, she also must battle her enemies: a man with a scar and a rival actress, both of whom continue to change their appearances according to the time periods and settings of the movies that make up Chiyoko's life. She keeps running through the centuries in pursuit of solving the mystery of the key, and being reunited with the only love of her life.