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Thursday, 16 February 2012

Transcription: Paprika (2006) Film Review

Fig.1 'Paprika' (2006) Film Poster

'Paprika' is a 2006 Japanese anime, science fiction film by director Satoshi Kon. With his previous works Perfect Blue, Millennium Agent, Tokyo Godfathers Satoshi Kon has proved himself one of the most innovative anime creators, his work is frequently complex, disconcerting and surreal. 'Paprika', adapted from a novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui, is a visually and thematically ambitious addition to his work. 'Paprika' explores the line between truth and fiction in this future-shock sci-fi anime feature.

Fig.2 "Paprika" (2006) Film Still

'Paprika' is a story that appears to take place in modern day. A Japanese technology company has created a piece of technology knew as the DC Mini. Dr. Atsuko Chiba, is testing a the DCMini which allows her to enter people’s dreams in a lucid state. As a psychotherapist, she uses the device to diagnose and treat her patients. Copies of the prototype device is stolen and someone is using it to download the dreams of schizophrenics into people’s heads. It’s left to Chiba and her friend set of on wild goose chase to solve the theft, retrieve the prototypes, save the people, and of course, save the day before dreams become fused with reality. Along the way, we get to see controlled dream worlds, people’s subconscious, the breakdown of the lines between dreams and reality. All it is served with a bit of Japanese moralising and philosophy.

Fig.3 'Paprika' (2006) Film Still

'Paprika' retains a very Japanese identity, but is easily understandable by western audiences. The film is brimful with imagination, attempting to  visualize the impossible and highly surreal. Critic Bill Thompson writes  in a review of  'Paprika' that "There is not much, if any, of a cognizant plot to be found in Paprika, but unlike say, Akira, that was far too overbearing in its attempt to present a theme instead of a coherent plot, Paprika doesn’t push any message or theme on you. Paprika is more about the experience and allowing the viewer to take whatever they feel away from said experience." (Thompson,2009) The subject topic of dreams merging with reality has been done before,  but Satoshi Kon has made it remain interesting in 'Paprika' . The lack of a plot leaves ample time to question but with 'Paprika'  it lives and breathes with the art of interpretation. There is not a moment where it says, “This is what is happening, we will tell you what to think.” That type of free interpretation makes for a thoughtful experience and leaves 'Paprika' as a film.

The reason why so many enjoy 'Paprika' is because of its animation style which makes 'Paprika' amazingly beautiful. It's full of texture and depth in every moment and incredibly clean and crisp in its presentation. The depth of the animation helps with the interpretations. Kon seems to function much like my director, Hayao Miyazaki, in that he makes sure the animation doesn’t just add style to the film but also gives you more to ponder.

Fig.4 'Paprika' (2006) Film Still

'Paprika' pushes past what a traditional anime is about, and utilizing anime in a very original way. One of many critics, Keith Dudhnath writes in his review of how 'Paprika' went one step further in terms of anime and he states that  "Paprika is exactly what anime films should be. It couldn't be made as a live action film, but it still has enough depth of character and plot so that the audience is drawn into its world. It has an astonishing array of grand scenes that could only be drawn rather than filmed, but they're never showy for the sake of being showy. Everything is fully appropriate" (Dudhnath, 2006) It stays well clear of Anime clich├ęs and presents a very creative film. Anime creates a medium where a director can literally translate what is in his mind onto film, and 'Paprika' is a film that personifies this fact.

One thing that is seen when researching into 'Paprika' is that alot of critics and fans have written in reviews about Christopher Nolan's 2010 film 'Inception'. This is because 'Paprika' and 'Inception' are films based on essentially the same concept. While both movies tackle the “dream state” theme head-on, they both have their differences as well. Really, the two stories go in fairly different directions from the outset. Sure, they both discuss dream worlds and are both psychological. But, Inception is generally more of a heist movie. It is also very dark and brooding. 'Paprika' is very colourful and vivid. It deals more with the possible therapeutic aspects of dreams. This was the case with Inception and 'Paprika'. Both films might’ve been spawned from the same idea, but it mutated into two separate and distinct movies. But some some fans still disagree "Yet there are clear parallels to be seen and there are a lot of anime bloggers/fans out there screaming at the injustice that Inception ripped off Paprika in a big way." ( Farfromthesilverscreen,2011) 

'Paprika' is smart, creative, and out of the box on an animation level makeing it stand out as a film. This is action sci-fi at its best, also a great introduction to modern Japanese anime.

Fig.5 'Paprika' (2006) Film Still

List Of Illustrations

Figure. 1 Kon, Satoshi (2006) Paprika Film Poster. (Accessed on 16/02/2011)
Figure. 2 Kon, Satoshi (2006) Paprika Film Still. (Accessed on 16/02/2011)
Figure. 3 Kon, Satoshi (2006) Paprika Film Still. (Accessed on 16/02/2011)
Figure. 4 Kon, Satoshi (2006) Paprika Film Still. (Accessed on 16/02/2011)
Figure. 5 Kon, Satoshi (2006) Paprika Film Still. (Accessed on 16/02/2011)


Thompson, Bill (2009) Review: Papurika (Paprika, 2006). (Accessed on 16/02/2012)
Dudhnath, Keith (2006) Paprika Film Review. (Accessed on 16/02/2012)
Farfromthesilverscreen (2011) Anime vs. Hollywood: Paprika & Inception. (Accessed on 16/02/2012)

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