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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
I had gone into Paprika not knowing much of what to expect, save for the fact that it was an anime with quite a buzz. An hour and a half later, this is one of the best films I've seen in 2007.
The plot, as best as I can describe it, concerns a group of scientists developing a device which allows one to interject your subconscious into and record another person's dreams. However, a thief is using the technology to terrorize and control others. As the scientists try to find their stolen property, reality begins to take on a different meaning...
Satoshi Kon is filmmaker I've never heard of before, but what he has created is truly visionary. Paprika continually amazes with imagery which transcends conscious understanding and coherence for what can only make sense on a subliminal level. Examples include a marching band of inanimate objects, dolls and animals, a giant aquatic leviathan with a man's face and humanoid toys that act as vessels for their dreamers bodies.
But what makes the film necessary viewing is not the visuals alone, it's the core of the story and varied themes that it poses. The subject matter deals with issues both contemporary and probable. The actual identities of ourselves are wrapped in an enigma. How science has its positive and negative aspects. That the advantages of the internet is better communication but also dehumanization. I'm sure others will find other symbolism and subtext.
Wheather you're familiar with Japanese animation or not, Paprika will expose any newcomer to something foreign and deeply personal as well.
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