Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Satoshi Kon | 2006 | 90 min | Japan

Satoshi Kon is the director responsible for the anime features Tokyo Godfathers, Millennium Actress, + the brilliant Perfect Blue. His latest, Paprika, follows a title character who counsels people using a machine which allows psychologists to view + interact with their patients dreams. When one of the machines is stolen, Paprika + her colleagues try to discover who is responsible for the theft + the ensuing tampering with the dreams of others. The mystery slowly unfolds in both dreams + waking life until the two worlds begin to fold into one another.

The story is wonderfully paced. Hints are parceled out evenly as to the identity of the thief + the unusual relationships of the characters. The scenes of grand reveals are kept to a bare minimum. Instead, the viewer is paid the respect to be able to figure the world out for themselves. This is the kind of thing we might have already been treated to if the writers of The Cell were smarter or more concerned with plot.

The animation is perfect. The real-world material is rich + interesting, while the glimpses into dreams are stunningly complex + bizarre. The dreams are so surreal, smooth, + flawless in their transitions that I am not sure any other filmmaker could handle the translation from imagination to screen, animated or otherwise. Michel Gondry comes to mind as a possibility.

There are several nice touches for cineastes + fans of the director's previous work, too. A few eclectic films are referenced, there are a couple nods to the mechanics of filmmaking, + posters for Satoshi's previous movies are visible in a few backgrounds. Interesting additions for the often ravenous anime fans.

And for good measure, there is the prerequisite collection of J-pop tunes popping up at random, jarring moments. Game, set, match.

No comments: