Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day 107: Paprika (2006) - Rank 3.5/5

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Over the years, I've watched a number of films that endeavor to catch the illogical, incoherent nature of dreams. All too often a dream in a film is used as a device to advance a plot (the entire series of "Twin Peaks" would be a prime example), but in reality, this mental sorting of subconscious issues is scarcely capable of telling individuals how to proceed in the future. Only upon rare occasion have I seen a director capture somnambular nonsense accordingly (Lynch's "Eraserhead" does a fine job). "Paprika" is one of those rarities.

The anime follows a dream researcher and psychotherapist who goes by a peppy, dream alter-ego by the name of Paprika. When a device that is capable of accessing anyone's dreams (be they in a waking state or not) falls into the wrong hands, it's up to the titular character to battle the villain in a dream world where anything is possible. The opening dream sequence is utterly surreal, as are many of the visions. To me, anime works best when it is dabbling in the realm of the exaggerated, the fantastic and the bizarre, and "Paprika" is one of those situations where the artists have the perfect medium/script to work with. The film practically feels like a dream itself from beginning to end, going beyond simple dabbling with reality within its own realm - it rises to the point of screwing with your own head and your notions of a "waking state" in the process.

Watch the Trailer

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