Paprika (2006)

“Paprika” (2006)



filmed dreams – dreamed films

This was another great adventure in the fields of Japanese animation. Between the bad stuff which emulates western ways to hit easily large crowds, and those productions which are essentially money making extensions of successful TV series/comics, we find great worthy films. This is probably the best i found so far.

It’s a film about films. Literally. Dreams here are faced as films. One of the first scenes establishes this, when Paprika makes a direct comparison between dreams and films, she even makes the difference between short and long forms. The film starts with a dream sequence which is in itself a series of film quotations, from Tarzan to Hitchcock. Those dreams are ‘grabbed’ by a machine which literally turns them into films one can watch in a screen. Those first minutes establish all this, with great economy and clarity.

Notice that in crucial moments, the transition between realities, or between dreams, or even better, between films, is literally made through a screen in a theatre.

The man whose dreams we see at the beginning (the police detective!) was himself a filmmaker, so his head (his dreams!) are inhabited by films, and this is a direct reference to how films mold our dreams and our imagination. I mention that many times when i write. Films are probably the strongest vehicle for modern generations to function mentally, in the dreams field, they have that responsibility. So we have a street of theaters with numerous films in exhibition, including another feature of the man who directed this, or Audrey’s War and Peace. Take your pick, that’s what i took from it.

In one specific scene, in a crucial moment when all the accumulated dreams we spy mix with explosive results, we have that detective talking about technical film terms, and he physically is modeled fully after Kurosawa. He is inside a theatre when this happens. This was great and a definitive approach to the idea of dreams as films. Kurosawa directed a film in which we would visit his own personal dreams, get into them with the perfect notion we were visitors to an inviting mind. Satoshi Kon might have that in mind when he chose to use Kurosawa; or he simply chose Kurosawa for pure fun.

Paprika starts as a pivot in the story, seeing and correcting things without much interference, but ends helping to write the story. Ultimately things are solved when the detective figures the end of his troubled filmed dream.

The music fully covers what’s intended. It has a beautiful ambiguity and attractiveness completely in the mood of what we saw: you can never be sure of whether you’re in a dream or in reality, but no matter how dangerous it looks, you always feel like going into it.

My opinion: 4/5 this film matters.

This comment on IMDb


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