you are being tormented by your subconscious, she is far more willing to help
and much more pleasant to be around than Shinya Tsukamoto’s Nightmare Detective. Ironically, she is
the avatar of the brusque but still attractive Dr. Atsuko Chiba. Unfortunately,
the technology that allows her to visit other people’s dreams falls into the
wrong hands in Satoshi Kon’s animated new classic, Paprika (trailer
screens this Friday as part of the Japan Society’s Monthly Classic film series.
Paprika, Chiba has been counseling hardboiled police detective Toshimi
Konakawa, who is plagued by visions of an ill-fated shooting and a mystery man
from his past. Konakawa only knows her as Paprika, but that is enough for him
to be smitten. Technically, she is Chiba’s alter-ego, but she seems to exhibit
some level of her own free agency. Nonetheless, Konakawa still immediately recognizes
Chiba in the real world when he meets her during the course of a case.
inconveniently, the DC Mini, the device that allows Chiba and her colleagues to
monitor and interact with patients’ dreams has been stolen. The assistant of
the device’s inventor has also gone missing and the project director has
suffered a psycho episode as a result of a dream-based attack launched by the
thief. Initially, all patients and doctors hooked up to a DC Mini are
vulnerable to this dream terrorism, but eventually everyone’s sub-conscience (or
perhaps the collective unconscious) will be at risk.
on a novel by Ysautaka Tsusui, Paprika neatly
balances the science fiction of films like
Inception and Dreamscape with the
psychological intrigue of thrillers like Hitchcock’s Spellbound. It will probably frustrate the pedantic because the
nature of Paprika and the powers of the DC Mini are rather slippery and
constantly evolving. However, it is a consistently provocative film, especially
when drawing parallels between the dream world and cyberspace.
is chocked full of wild visuals, including a dreamland
parade of subconscious hang-ups that looks like it could have influenced Mamoru
Hosoda’s Summer Wars. It also boasts
some unusually well-delineated characters for an animated film, especially
Konakawa and Chiba (and maybe Paprika too). Frankly, it holds up pretty brilliantly
nearly ten years after its initial American release, even though Inception subsequently poached on its
subconscious terrain. Every science fiction and animation fan should catch up
with it and they will have a chance to do so on the big screen when the Japan
Society projects it this Friday (10/7), as this month’s classic.
Labels: Animated films, Japan Society, Japanese Cinema, Satoshi Kon