名女優が追い続ける恋物語

[From July Issue 2010]

Chiyoko Millennial Actress (Directed by KON Satoshi)

「千年女優」
販売元:バンダイビジュアル

This is an anime film written and directed by KON Satoshi, who started his career as a manga artist. It won the Grand Prize in the animation category at the 2001 Japan Media Arts Festival held by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, tying with “Spirited Away,” directed by MIYAZAKI Hayao. Centering on the present, the plot advances in a unique manner, with a mixture of the past and the future, and of reality and fantasy.

TACHIBANA Genya, the president of a film production company, is asked to make a documentary in commemoration of the demolition of Ginei, the movie studio where he once worked. So, he decides to interview FUJIWARA Chiyoko, the greatest actress the studio has ever produced, in order to record her life’s story. Though a big fan of Fujiwara himself, even 30 years after her retirement from show business, Tachibana has no idea where she lives, nor does anyone else.

Having finally managed to arrange an interview with Chiyoko, Tachibana visits her home along with a young cameraman. Despite having refused interviews for 30 years, she agrees to the meeting after being told that Tachibana has something for her. As soon as they meet, Tachibana hands her a small box. With a surprised look, Fujiwara opens it to find an old key inside.

Taking it in her hand, Chiyoko explains that it is “the key to open the most important thing there is.” Little by little, she begins to tell how as a high school student, she was discovered by Ginei, and about the real reason for her entering show business, in spite of her mother’s opposition – her burning love for a man whom she saved while she was in high school.

Chiyoko recounts how she met the man long ago, when Japan was still very militaristic. He was an artist, and a criminal wanted for having anti-government views. As it happened, Chiyoko sheltered this fugitive, and the two talked and talked without ever learning each other’s names. Then, she caught sight of this key he had.

The man told her that it was the key to open the most important thing. The following day, on her way home from school, she found it lying in the street. With a sense of foreboding, she rushed home only to find that he had already disappeared, just ahead of the police, who had discovered where he was hiding. From then on, Chiyoko searched for the man using what little information she had, so she could give him back his key.

Reflecting on her life, she sees herself move from wartime Tokyo, where she was born and raised, through her past movies which depicted the Sengoku period and the last days of the Tokugawa Shognate. Tachibana and the cameraman also appear in those scenes, but only Chiyoko can see them. Her story travels through various eras, mixing real events with her fantasies.

Just before the end of the interview, Chiyoko faints. When she awakens at the hospital, she realizes that her time is soon coming. Smiling at both Tachibana and the cameraman by her side, she tells them that she is not afraid of death. “After all, I’m going after that man again,” she says, before gently closing her eyes forever.

[2010年7月号掲載記事]

千年女優(今 敏 監督)

「千年女優」
販売元:バンダイビジュアル

漫画家出身の今敏監督が原作、脚本も手がけたアニメーション作品。2001年度の文化庁メディア芸術祭アニメーション部門大賞を宮崎駿監督の『千と千尋の神隠し』と同時受賞した。現代の話を中心に、過去と未来、事実と空想が入り交じる独特の手法で描かれている。

映像制作会社社長、立花源也は、かつて自分も働いていた映画会社「銀映」の撮影所が取り壊されるにあたり、ドキュメンタリー制作を依頼される。そして、銀映が生んだ大女優、藤原千代子の人生をインタビューしようとする。立花も千代子の大ファンだったが、30年前に芸能界を引退した彼女がどこに住んでいるか知る人は少なかった。

ようやくインタビューの約束を取りつけた立花は、若手カメラマンを連れて千代子の家を訪れる。30年間、取材を拒否してきた千代子だったが、立花からある物を差し上げたいと言われて応じたのだ。早速、立花は小さな箱を千代子に差し出す。驚きながらも千代子が箱を開けると、そこには古い鍵がおさめられていた。

千代子はその鍵を手にとると、「一番大切なものを開ける鍵」と説明する。彼女は、女学生の頃に銀映にスカウトされたことや、母親の反対を押し切ってまで芸能界入りした本当の理由を少しずつ語り始める。その理由とは、女学生の頃に助けたある男へのはげしい恋心だった。

その昔、まだ日本が軍国主義にわいていた頃、千代子はその男と出逢った。絵描きだった男は国家に反抗的な考えを持つと判断され、犯罪者として追われていたのだ。警察から逃げていたところを、偶然、千代子がかくまうと、二人は互いの名も名乗らないまま語り合う。その時、彼女は男の持っていた鍵に目が留まる。

男は「一番大切なものを開ける鍵」と答える。翌日、学校の帰り道、千代子は男の鍵を道ばたで拾う。いやな予感を覚え急いで家に帰ると、警察に隠れ場所を発見された男はすでに姿を消した後だった。それ以来、千代子はわずかな情報を頼りに、鍵を返すために男の姿を追い求める。

千代子が振り返る半生は、千代子自身が生まれ育った戦時下の東京が出てきたかと思えば、戦国時代や幕末を描いた彼女の出演映画の世界に移動したりする。常にその世界に登場する立花とカメラマンの姿は、千代子にしか見えない。こうして彼女の話は、事実と彼女の空想とが交差していく。

インタビューが終わる頃、千代子は突然、気を失う。病院で意識が戻るが、彼女は死が迫っていることに気づく。そして、付き添う立花とカメラマンに笑顔を向け、死は恐くないと話す。「だって私、またあの人を追いかけて行くんですもの」と言うと、彼女は目を閉じるのだった。

Leave a Reply