Paprika (2006 film)

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Original Japanese poster
Directed by Satoshi Kon
Produced by Masao Takiyama
Jungo Maruta
Written by Seishi Minakami
Satoshi Kon
Starring Japan
Megumi Hayashibara
Akio Ōtsuka
Kōichi Yamadera
Tōru Furuya
Cindy Robinson
Paul St. Peter
Doug Erholtz
Yuri Lowenthal
Music by Susumu Hirasawa
Editing by Takeshi Seyama
Distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment/Sony Pictures Classics
Release date(s) Japan:
November 25, 2006
United States:
May 25, 2007
June 15, 2007
United Kingdom
September 3, 2007
Running time 90 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese, English

Paprika (パプリカ Papurika?) is a Japanese animated science fiction film, based on Yasutaka Tsutsui's 1993 novel of the same name, about a research psychologist who uses a device that permits therapists to help patients by entering their dreams.

The film was directed by Satoshi Kon, animated by Madhouse Studios, and produced and distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment. The film's music was composed by Susumu Hirasawa, who also composed the soundtrack for Kon's award-winning film, Millennium Actress, and equally lauded television series, Paranoia Agent.


[edit] Plot

In the near future, a revolutionary new psychotherapy treatment called dream therapy has been invented. A device called the "DC Mini" allows the user to view people's dreams, exploring their unconscious thoughts. The head of the team working on this treatment, Dr. Atsuko Chiba, begins using the machine to help psychiatric patients outside the research facility, using her alter-ego "Paprika", a persona she seems to assume in the dream world. The movie opens with Paprika counseling Detective Toshimi Konakawa, who is haunted by a recurring dream depicting himself in various cinema scenes (including From Russia With Love, Tarzan, and Roman Holiday) ending with a murderer escaping from a homicide.

As the government had not yet approved usage of the device, Chiba's actions are technically illegal and thus are kept a secret between herself and two colleagues: Dr. Kōsaku Tokita, a morbidly obese child-at-heart genius and the inventor of the DC Mini, and Dr. Toratarō Shima, the friendly and cheerful chief of staff. Three of the prototypes for the DC Mini are stolen and the Chairman of the company leads a meeting with the trio to discuss the ramifications and his severe doubts on the ethical nature of the DC Mini. Without warning, Dr. Shima suddenly goes on a nonsensical tirade and throws himself through a window, nearly killing himself.

The parade is a recurring image in the film.

Shima's psyche is examined and it is discovered that his thoughts had been invaded by someone else's dream: a lively parade of inanimate objects, instrument-playing animals, and various cultural icons. The visiage of Kei Himuro, Dr. Tokita's assistant, appears amongst the images of the "dream parade". It is suspected that he had used a stolen DC Mini to psychically assault Shima. Tokita and Chiba, along with another colleague, Dr. Morio Osanai, investigate Himuro's abandoned apartment. There, Chiba's mind is invaded by delusions of pursuing a Japanese doll through an amusement park; she nearly throws herself off a balcony as a result and is rescued at the last moment by Osanai. Back at the research facility, two other scientists fall victim to the dream parade. The Chairman (who is literally confined to a wheelchair) cites the incidents as reason enough to ban the use of the device completely.

Chiba deduces that the amusement park from her previous delusions is a real location Tokita and Himuro used to relate about. Tokita and Chiba visit the park only to encounter Himuro, a DC Mini embedded into his skull, throwing himself off a Ferris wheel. Himuro survives the ordeal but is left in a vegetative state; he is ultimately held responsible for the dream parade incidents. Chiba however believes Himuro himself to have been a victim, chiding Tokita when he shows apathy to the situation. Tokita responds by using the DC Mini to access Himuro's psyche to find out for himself, and becomes the latest victim of the dream parade, which in turn starts to actively invade the dreams of others as Paprika and Dt. Konakawa discover.

Paprika and Shima explore Himuro's psyche using the DC Mini and find that it's literally been reduced to an empty shell. Tracing the "roots" that controlled him, Paprika confronts the Chairman himself, who claims that he is in fact the "protector of the dreamworld", guarding this last haven against the inhumane horrors of reality and technology. He is aided by Osanai, who agreed to give the Chairman his body and become the Chairman's lackey as long as he retains equal powers over his own dreams. Paprika is eventually captured by the pair after an exhausting chase.

Paprika wakes as a butterfly pinned to a table in a room surrounded by pinned butterflies. There, Osanai admits his love for Chiba, and literally peels away Paprika's skin to reveal Chiba underneath. However, he is interrupted by the outraged Chairman who demands that they finish off Chiba; as the two share Osanai's body, they battle for control as they argue over Chiba's fate. Konakawa enters the dream from his own recurring dream, and flees with Chiba back into his. Osanai gives chase through Konakawa's reoccuring dream, causing Konakawa to realize that his recurring nightmare and anxiety result from his guilt that he never finished the film he was making with a friend. He decides to "finish the film" and take control of the dream by shooting Osanai. The act actually kills Osanai's physical body with a real bullet wound.

Dreams and reality have now merged. The dream parade is running amok in the city, and reality itself is starting to unravel. Shima is nearly killed by a giant Japanese doll, but is saved by Paprika, who has become an entity separate from Chiba thanks to dreams and reality merging. Amidst the chaos, Tokita, in the form of a giant robot, eats Chiba and prepares to do the same for Paprika. The Chairman also returns in the form of a living nightmare, reveals his twisted dreams of omnipotence, and threatens to darken the world with his delusions.

A ghostly apparition of Chiba appears and reveals that she has in fact been in love with Tokita this whole time and has simply been repressing these emotions. She comes to terms with her own repressed desires, reconciles herself with that part of her that is Paprika. Paprika returns to Tokita, throwing herself into his body. A ghostly apparition of a baby emerges from the robotic shell, like a womb. Sucking in the wind, the child grows until she sucks up the Chairman himself, becoming a full grown beautiful combination of both Chiba and Paprika. In this new form, she is able to consume the Chairman's dream form and end the nightmare he created.

In the final scene, Chiba sits at Tokita's bedside. Konakawa and Shima leave the two as Chiba puts her hand in Tokita's. As Konakawa and Shima walk down the street, Shima asks if Konakawa ever figured out the meaning to all this. Konakawa, turning to his reflection and seeing the figure of his film friend, realizes that he in fact became the character from their original film, the cop. Konakawa visits Paprika's website and receives a message from Paprika: "Atsuko will change her surname to Tokita... and I suggest watching the movie Dreaming Kids." The film ends as Konakawa purchases a ticket for the movie.

[edit] Distribution

[edit] Festivals

The world premiere of Paprika took place at the 63rd Venice International Film Festival on September 2, 2006.[1][2] The film screened at the 44th New York Film Festival, playing on October 7, 2006. It competed at the 19th Tokyo International Film Festival from October 21—29, 2006, as the opening screening for the 2006 TIFF Animation CG Festival.[3] It was shown at the 2007 National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., as the closing film of the Anime Marathon at the Freer Gallery of the Smithsonian, and at the 2007 Greater Philadelphia Cherry Blossom Festival. It played at the Sarasota Film Festival on April 21, 2007, in Sarasota, Florida. Additionally, it was shown at the 39th International Film Festival in Auckland, New Zealand, on July 22, 2007, and was shown as the festival traveled around New Zealand.

[edit] Theatrical release

The film saw theatrical releases on November 25, 2006, in Japan and May 25, 2007, in the United States.[4]

Sony had organized a limited theatrical release specifically to make the film eligible for consideration.[5] The Anime News Network gave the film a perfect review of A+ in every category.[6] The American DVD and Blu-ray Discs were released on November 27, 2007. The region 2 DVD has ARccOS copy protection enabled on it.

[edit] Reception

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 82% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 83 reviews.[7] On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 81 out of 100, based on 26 reviews.[8]

Paprika won the Best Feature Length Theatrical Anime Award at the sixth annual Tokyo Anime Awards during the 2007 Tokyo International Anime Fair.[9]

In the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, reviewer Andrez Bergen wrote: "The film rates as the most mesmerizing animation long-player since Miyazaki's Sen and Chihiro's Spirited Away five years ago, and Kon exhibits an equally playful willingness to pitchfork the texture of the more dramatic moments. Am I gushing yet? Add to this some stunning background art, peerless integration of 2-D and 3-D animation, and some wonderful character designs by Studio Ghibli regular Masashi Ando. But Kon's forte is in the surreal interaction of reality and dreams—which often drift into nightmares." [10]

Criticism of the film tended to centre on its confusing plot. Rob Nelson of The Village Voice suggested that Paprika "isn't a movie that's meant to be understood so much as simply experienced - or maybe dreamed."[11]

[edit] Cast

Character Japanese version English version[12] French version German version Spanish (México) version
Doctor Atsuko "Paprika" Chiba Megumi Hayashibara Cindy Robinson Laurence Dourlens Veronika Neugebauer Rebeca Gómez (Paprika), Liliana Barba (Atsuko)
Doctor Seijirō Inui Tōru Emori Manfred Erdmann
Doctor Toratarō Shima Katsunosuke Hori David Lodge Vincent Violette
Doctor Kōsaku Tokita Tōru Furuya Yuri Lowenthal Xavier Fagnon Martin Halm Juan Alfonso Carralero
Doctor Morio Osanai Kōichi Yamadera Doug Erholtz Emmanuel Jacomy Philipp Brammer Marcos Patiño
Detective Toshimi Konakawa Akio Ōtsuka Paul St. Peter Gudo Hoegel Gerardo Vázquez
The Chairman Hideyuki Tanaka Michael Forest Federico Romano
Japanese Doll Satomi Kōrogi
Kei Himuro Daisuke Sakaguchi Kai Taschner
Doctor Yasushi Tsumura Mitsuo Iwata Stefan Günther
Doctor Nobue Kakimoto Rikako Aikawa Magda Giner
Reporter Shinichirō Ōta
Magician Shinya Fukumatsu
Waitress Akiko Kawase Mónica Villaseñor
Announcer Kumiko Izumi
Researcher Anri Katsu
Staff member Eiji Miyashita
Pierrot Kōzō Mito
Kuga Yasutaka Tsutsui Brian Beacock Erich Ludwig
Jinnai Satoshi Kon Ulrich Frank

[edit] Trivia

During the middle of the movie Paprika is seen riding on a cloud and holding a staff, dressing as Sun Wukong from the Chinese tale, Journey to the West.

At the end of the movie when Konakawa goes to see Dreaming Kids, posters are shown for Kon's other films, Perfect Blue, Millenium Actress, and Tokyo Godfathers.

Satoshi Kon (the film's director) and Yasutaka Tsutsui (the writer of the novel upon which Paprika is based) play the voices of the two bartenders.

While explaining cinematic terms that occurred during his dream Konakawa is dressed like Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Venezia 63 - In Competition...". ...Biennale Cinema... 63rd Venice Film Festival.... la Biennale di Venezia. 2. Retrieved on 2006-08-17. 
  2. ^ Eric J. Lyman (2006-07-28). "Five U.S. films in Venice fest competition". The Hollywood Reporter. VNU eMedia, Inc.. Retrieved on 2006-08-17. 
  3. ^ "amimecs TIFF 2006 TIFF Animation CG Festival (provisional title)". 19th Tokyo Internation Film Festival Press Conference. Tokyo Internation Film Festival. 2006-07-31. Retrieved on 2006-08-17. 
  4. ^ Todd Brown (2006-07-31). "Release Update For Satoshi Kon's Paprika". Twitch. Twitch. Retrieved on 2006-08-17. 
  5. ^ "Annie Award Nominations Follow-up". Retrieved on 2006-12-05. 
  6. ^ Justin Sevakis. "Paprika review". Retrieved on 2006-09-28. 
  7. ^ "Paprika - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on 2007-10-22. 
  8. ^ "Paprika (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved on 2007-10-22. 
  9. ^ "Results of 6th Annual Tokyo Anime Awards Out". Anime News Network. 2007-03-19. Retrieved on 2008-09-12. 
  10. ^ Paprika review, Andrez Bergen. Yomiuri Shimbun, November 25, 2006.
  11. ^ Rob Nelson, Kon's Cure for Cinema, The Village Voice, May 15, 2007.
  12. ^ Eric Henrickson (2007-12-19). "'Paprika' English dub cast". Retrieved on 2008-01-13. 

[edit] External links

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