PERFECT BLUE
PÂFEKUTO BURÛ
1997, GKIDS, 81 min, Japan, Dir: Satoshi Kon

The groundbreaking first film from legendary director Satoshi Kon is an iconic psychological thriller that has frequently been hailed as one of the most important animated films of all time. Rising pop star Mima has quit singing to pursue a career as an actress and model, but her fans aren’t ready to see her go. Encouraged by her managers, Mima takes on a recurring role on a popular TV show, when suddenly her handlers and collaborators begin turning up murdered. Harboring feelings of guilt and haunted by visions of her former self, Mima’s reality and fantasy meld into a frenzied paranoia. As her stalker closes in, in person and online, the threat he poses is more real than even Mima knows. Featuring strong adult content, this film is only recommended for adults 17 years and older.


MILLENNIUM ACTRESS
SENNEN JOYÛ
2001, Eleven Arts, 87 min, Japan, Dir: Satoshi Kon

When the legendary Ginei Studios shuts down, filmmaker Genya Tachibana and his assistant are tasked with interviewing its reclusive star, Chiyoko Fujiwara, who had retired from the spotlight 30 years prior. As she recounts her career, Genya and his crew are literally pulled into her memories where they witness her chance encounter with a mysterious man on the run from the police. Despite never knowing his name or his face, Chiyoko relentlessly pursues that man in a seamless blend of reality and memory that only Satoshi Kon could deliver. Boasting countless awards, MILLENNIUM ACTRESS is a must-see for anime fans of all ages.


STEAMBOY
SUCHÎMUBÔI
2004, Sony Repertory, 126 min, Japan, Dir: Katsuhiro Ôtomo

Writer-director Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s follow up to AKIRA is just as brilliantly visualized as that earlier anime classic. In mid-19th-century England, boy inventor James Ray Steam receives a mysterious device from his grandfather with instructions to guard it carefully. When operatives from the O'Hara Foundation arrive to steal it, it becomes clear why: The “steam ball” can be used as a power source for highly destructive weapons. Again dealing with themes of science and militarism, Ôtomo has created a rip-roaring adventure that’s as entertaining as it is thought-provoking. In Japanese with English subtitles.


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