Massachusetts Daily Collegian

‘Perfect Blue:’ Despite it All

A thrilling film for anyone

%28Courtesy+of+Perfect+Blue+IMDb%29
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‘Perfect Blue:’ Despite it All

(Courtesy of Perfect Blue IMDb)

(Courtesy of Perfect Blue IMDb)

(Courtesy of Perfect Blue IMDb)

(Courtesy of Perfect Blue IMDb)

By Jackson Walker, Collegian Correspondent

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“Perfect Blue,” an animated film, offers an intriguing take on celebrity culture and objectification as well as on how we can interpret our dreams. The late Satoshi Kon’s 1997 debut introduced the world to his dark world, where reality and fantasy intermingle in a chaotic dance for control.

“Perfect Blue” tells the story of Mima Kirigoe, a recently retired “idol,” a star within a widely adored pop group known as “CHAM.” Finding this life ultimately taxing and unrewarding, Mima resolves to find her way as an actress, thus redefining her persona. Despite her climb through the ranks of show business, her biggest fans begin to despise her for “abandoning them.” This leads to an odyssey spanning reality and fantasy, as Mima attempts to rediscover herself while her past haunts her every step.

Kon’s aesthetically-pleasing style is often the aspect of his filmmaking that draws the most the attention. Worthy of all the praise it receives, it is one many things that make this film great. Mainly, the use of color and symmetry throughout the film cleverly highlight and foreshadow key plot points. Despite its age, “Perfect Blue” still shines with intricately painted backgrounds and emotive characters. Dreamlike movement, lackadaisical and often sluggish, further blurs the lines between real life and a dream state. Even side characters carry their own distinctive gaits and noticeable styles, bringing pleasant variety to a medium often maligned for being full of “cut and paste” characters.

Despite an earthquake which devastated Kon’s production studio, “Perfect Blue” managed to exceed expectations and create a timeless film with an iconic art style.

The editing of the film, including the “camera work” is deserving of praise as well. In large part, this film maintains its ambiguity through clever cutting and framing. In “Perfect Blue”, nothing is explicit, and many of the characters appear to be as confused as we are in relation to what is going on around them. This makes it hard not to give “Perfect Blue” your full attention, as much of the plot requires piecing together the pieces the editors leave behind. Sharp cuts contrasted with long panning shots help to distinguish dream and reality, but nothing is ever sure. While the characters of the dream appear just as real as the ones we know to be real, this can be the source of constant confusion. With the film’s rapid pace, missing a step is not an option.

Kon lays every piece carefully, ensuring that Perfect Blue holds a special place in the history of film — despite everything that was fighting against it.

Jackson Walker can be reached at [email protected]

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