Please check your reality at the door. You won't need it.
Jun 2, 2009
If you're the type who likes to play chess against a movie, then feel free to try it here. But be warned, trying to find the predictable in almost any Satoshi Kon movie is a challenge. I tell ya, the man smokes crack before every animation. Forget Oscar, where's the Timothy Leary award?
Animation Director Satoshi Kon loves to dream, and wants you to love dreaming too. So much so that with Paprika he plops you right into the middle of a symbiotic dream. To pull this off he uses a dream machine. Well, actually he uses darn good animation. But in the movie it's a dream machine. Someone has stolen it, and is using it to control dreams and with it the fate of the dreamer. There is no key protagonist in this movie, but instead a small ensemble of characters who are diving in and out of their own dreams and the dreams of each other – trying to escape the madness. Paprika is a dream persona that may be real enough to find out who stole the dream machine – and stop him.
Sounds like an invitation to beat the movie to the end, doesn't it? To figure out "who" before the characters do, right? Sure, try it. Maybe you'll pull it off. But with Kon's movies, it doesn't really matter. What does matter is that you disregard reality for the hour and a half that Kon asks you to. You won't regret it, since Paprika is by far one of the most engaging and visually stimulating animations I've seen. There's a fluidity to his shape-shifting forms that make actual dreams seem somewhat dull. And while it could have been tempting to just indulge the spiraling meaninglessness of the irrational, Kon actually decides that even in dreams this is an ordered universe. Consequently, you'll soon discover that even the most bizarre and arbitrary sequences are actually synchronistic.
How Kon dreams this stuff up, I'll never know.
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Satoshi Kon was born on October 12, 1963. He is a Japanese director of anime films. Kon started his career as a manga artist and editor in Young Magazine, and then made his screenwriting debut with "Magnetic Rose", a section of the anthology film Memories. Kon made his directorial debut film, Perfect Blue, in 1997, followed by Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, Paprika and the television series Paranoia Agent. A fifth film, The Dream Machine, is also in production.