Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Millennium Actress


I had a post ready for today, but it required a scan and unfortunately today was the day for switching printers, with all the usual dislocations.

So, rather than miss today's post entirely, I'll pose a question.

I'm rererewatching Millennium Actress by the great anime director Satoshi Kon. The central conceit is that two fanboys are interviewing a great actress in her old age.  As she reflects back on her past, the fans are there, passively filming.  Then, as excerpts of her movies are shown, they are swept in as extras.

In practice, this works brilliantly.  The fans -- naive, sincere -- stand in for the viewer and comment on the events.

Here's my question.  Has any live action movie ever done this?  And if not, why not?



Unknown said...

Gods and Monsters, with Ian McKellen and Brendan Fraser. McKellen is playing James Whale, an elderly retired director; Fraser is Clayton Boone, his gardener. The film is about their odd, unbalanced, awkward relationship, but when Whale is reminiscing, the story is told in flashbacks.

Michael Swanwick said...

The fanboys don't just see the flashbacks, they participate in them. Knowing what they do in the present-time frame.

Mark Pontin said...

[1] Well, arguably --,_Part_I

-- wherein Mel Brooks got to recycle many of his 2,000-year-old man jokes.

(I note Mr. Brooks continues to work at age 88 and in this year's MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN, he's the voice of Albert Einstein.)

But that's not quite what you meant, is it?

[2] The device you're talking about has been used a lot in theater, with one actor performing different roles (often an everyman role)in different periods, and so you'd expect it to have transferred over to live-action cinema at some point.

But the only thing that immediately comes to my mind along those lines is Michael Powell's & Emeric Pressburger's TALES OF HOFFMAN 1951)and the BBC's BLACK ADDER series.

And those aren't exactly what you meant either.

[3] Still, there's got be something out there that does it. It's too obvious a device.

Ken Houghton said...

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead? Or Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead?

Purple Rose of Cairo is the closest other film I can think of.