- 慶應義塾大学日吉紀要. 英語英米文学
- no.47, pp.93-121, 2005-09
In Satoshi Kon's film Sennen Joyu, or Millennium Actress (2001), the memories and true love of a retired actress, Chiyoko Fujiwara, are narrated. Her life is depicted just as a mélange of her various identities in the different time periods and settings of the movies in which she has played a main character. In order to express the cross section of Chiyoko's recollection, Kon employs a unique spiral-like narrative structure in which time streams shift back and forth between the inner world of Chiyoko's past and the outer world of her present. The search for her first love, "Mr. Key," is repeatedly displayed through the passages of time in the sequences of her movies and her real life. She, however, never reaches him. Love and marriage dominantly serve to construct the identity of heroines, as seen, for instance, in a series of Walt Disney Studio's princess stories and many Japanese TV animations for girls. How heroines achieve self-fulfillment by being accepted by princes, or their love, has greatly influenced the construction of gender identity among viewers not only in the US but also in Japan. In Millennium Actress, however, autonomous women, who lead lives without male acceptance, are successfully engaged. In this film, with Chiyoko's incomplete love moving in pursuit through the spiral-like narrative structure, the focus on the lives of women deftly shows the value of process rather than outcome. In this paper, I will first explore the unique narrative structure that allows a flexible approach to time and memory. I will also highlight representations of women by analyzing images of incompleteness and circles such as a spinning wheel, the 14th day moon, and Chiyoko's endless pursuit of her love.