A high-school girl named Makoto acquires the power to travel back in time, and decides to use it for her own personal benefits. Little does she know that she is affecting the lives of others just as much as she is her own.
Told in three interconnected segments, we follow a young man named Takaki through his life as cruel winters, cold technology, and finally, adult obligations and responsibility converge to test the delicate petals of love.
On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami's curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime.
Seemingly unconnected citizens of Tokyo are targeted for bludgeoning by a boy with a golden baseball bat. As detectives try to link the victims, they discover that following the assaults, the victims' lives have improved in some way.
Three scientists at the Foundation for Psychiatric Research fail to secure a device they've invented, the D.C. Mini, which allows people to record and watch their dreams. A thief uses the device to enter people's minds, when awake, and distract them with their own dreams and those of others. Chaos ensues. The trio - Chiba, Tokita, and Shima - assisted by a police inspector and by a sprite named Paprika must try to identify the thief as they ward off the thief's attacks on their own psyches. Dreams, reality, and the movies merge, while characters question the limits of science and the wisdom of Big Brother. Written by
What happens when you see a wonderful film, a truly wonderful one, and you are disappointed because the very last one you saw was from the same filmmaker and was very much better? I should have watched some trash first.
The better film I'm alluding to is "Millennium Actress," a wonderful slippery glide through a shifting of life, movies and personal memory. Several things made that great: the drawings were in some places marvelous; the reason for the slips was never explained; and the "wrapping" story was incredibly thin, just barely enough. It was clearly a movie about movies and how life and film make each other.
This one conflates life, dreams and movies in much the same way, and goes further by merging individual lives and dreams. But it is burdened by two things. The first is that the wrapping story is large, heavy. The second is that we have a tedious explanation about why the slips occur: some invented device. And it adopts the Godzilla/Transformers model where two giants fight, towering over the city. Jees.
Two things are superior, however. One is that the dreamworlds give the artist freedom to depart from the constraints of the real. It isn't surreal: that's a very specific thing. But you do have dancing refrigerators leading a parade to hell. You may not appreciate the visuals here, in fact I suspect most won't think them special. But I did.
But the main thing is the title character, a lovely redheaded virtual soul who lives in the dreamworld. She's the pinnacle of girl fantasy: capable, not real, fairy-like but strong, desirable but forceful, following the rules of the world sometimes and writing the rules at other. She's woven from something deep in the psyche, our usually unfound soulmate who writes our dreams that spill into our lives.
But her appearance and character isn't what amazes here. Its how many different ways the filmmaker has her interact with the dream world. I stopped noting them because they were so varied and clever. She flies of course, she morphs. She shares a body in the real world of a woman scientist. (There's a truly remarkable dream scene when a vagina is "unzipped" to the forehead to reveal the true woman within.) She merges with shadows, reflections, light and shadow. She appears from dolls and billboards, clouds. From cracks and folds. Its as if there was a list of all possibilities that is being exhausted.
I will suggest that you see this before "Millennium Actress." Then both will blow you away.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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