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This is definitely no cartoon for little kids. Not because it has explicitly violence or gore, but because the themes and the story line are very adult and most children would find them boring.
The story revolves around a duo of documentary filmmakers who are charged with documenting the final days of a historic theatre that is about to be torn down. But, instead of focusing on the building itself they decide to track down the theatres most famous performer and get her story to humanize the theatre.
They travel to her home and as the interview begins an earthquake hits. The Director uses the metaphor of the earthquake throughout the movie.
As the interview goes on we are swept through Fujiwara’s mind. Her film roles mix with reality, as Fujiwara’s past is laid open. Her life almost seems to transcend time from space exploration to feudal Japan as she goes in search of the man she has loved her entire life.
As she takes you to these places in her memories I can’t say enough about just how beautiful this film is. From feudal Japan to a space station on the Moon, and all points in-between, it is just fantastic. And almost more important, I think the movie is trying to tell us about the importance of our dreams; not so much obtaining those dreams, but how the pursuit of our dreams keeps us alive, and gives us direction throughout our lives.
The story also serves are an exploration of Japanese culture, society and history. By transcending time using Meta fiction they can probe different aspects of Japanese culture without going into boring details.
Of course that’s what I got out of it. I am not Japanese nor have I ever lived in Japan so these aspects of the film engaged me the most. However, if I were Japanese I would probably focus more on the story of the actress’ life and how different people can touch and shape your life for whatever reasons.
I would suggest this film to a waster audience in a second. There aren’t that many confusing moments in the movie where Japanese cultural norm trump the story, thus leaving the western view confused an alienated.