I saw Memories last night, and my god it was good! It's now number one in my books, moving Ghost in the Shell right down to number two, and Neon Genesis Evangelion to number three. I don't understand why Memories is such a rarity in North America; it's so damn good!
Anyway, more to the point: the anime was produced by Katsushiro Otomo (who also created the cult classic Akira in the eighties) with the involvement of three different directors (which leaves the viewer with a variety of stylistic perspectives to consider).
The film has three separate parts (or three thematically-related films, if you will). The first, called "Magnetic Rose" is about a space scrap salvaging crew that receives a transmission of Madame Butterfly on an SOS channel. The signal comes from a large, unidentified body of debris. The salvage crew is surprised to uncover a palace filled with fake food, clothes, and holograms. Then (as expected) things get a bit complicated. All I will add is that the piece borrows a lot from Kubrick, Lem, and Bradbury, both visually and thematically.
The second part, called "Stink Bomb," is a story of a young lab technician that inadvertently ingests what he believes to be cold medicine (in actuality, it is a powerful biological weapon). The piece is an interesting (and a surprisingly humorous) analysis of war in general and the nuclear implications of World War II in specific (once again, there are some interesting links to Akira).
The last part, "Cannon Fodder," is a dystopian masterpiece. It has everything from the "imaginary enemy" of 1984, to a totalitarian setting which raises questions about the politics of oppression and war. Find it and see it!