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Anime masterpiece Millennium Actress now streaming online for free

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Thanks to the Paramount Vault

Millennium Actress, one of anime director Satoshi Kon's feature films, is now available to watch on YouTube for free. The 2002 film is the latest addition to the Paramount Vault, a collection of full-length movies and short clips, all viewable for free.

The sci-fi fantasy follows the titular actress as she recounts her career to a documentary film crew. Like other Kon films, the story gets more bizarre from there, thanks to its non-linear, time-traveling narrative. The entire movie is streaming in its original Japanese and includes English subtitles; you can check it out above.

Millennium Actress is one of the more acclaimed films featured in the Paramount Vault, which teases the inclusion of Clueless, Airplane! and other classics in a trailer featured on the channel. Among the few other films of note available to stream are Masters of the Universe and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

Kon was well regarded by anime and art film fans alike for his unconventional storytelling. Millennium Actress followed Perfect Blue, his debut feature from 1998 that inspired Western films like Requiem for a Dream. Perhaps his best known work is 2006's Paprika, a movie about detectives who travel inside of dreams. American critics like Roger Ebert regularly cited parallels between it and Inception, Christopher Nolan's later live-action film.

Although Kon died from cancer in 2010, leaving behind an unfinished film, his work continues to be the subject of critical study and praise. The video below, from 2014, shows some of the cinematic techniques the director used to make a mark on anime — and film overall.