Paprika review

Fig .1. poster

Paprika a Japanese film directed by Satoshi Kon is a some what surreal film, a lot of the film taking place in dreams. The film is centred around Paprika the alter ego of Chiba Atsuko. The film is not very clear on the relationship between paprika and Chiba,  it is hinted to but they it is never explain how paprika is alive.  Why she is alive is clear,  she acts as a avatar that analyses the dreams of patients. What is strange is the film seems to give her a physical form at the beginning and then she reverts to Chiba. They seem to be living two different lives at the beginning which is where some of the initial confusion comes from.

The cast of characters was somewhat refreshing after seen the same bright hair slim character tropes that modern anime is fixated on. The characters are multidimensional and although there is very little time for character development they are still so realistic. As a spectator it is easier it relate with characters  like detective Kogawa (Akio Otsuka), his humanity, his flaws and  his fears because he is written to be a real person with real problems.

Dr. Chiba starts as a cold and stoic character and although not much changes she is able to express her true feelings. It's is possible that her stoic character traits come from the fact that paprika is her opposite, and to balance out character types too serve as literal representation of ying and yang.

The film makes sense other than the Chiba and Paprika relationship. The dream setting  is non-linear and disjointed whereas the real word is more straightforward. This changes as the gap between the real and dream world gets smaller and smaller. Once then worlds become one all sense of logic seems to disappear from the "real" world. The characters seem to be driven by their raw emotion and begin to remove all the conscious walls that stop them from from saying what's really on the minds. This seems to hint back to the idea of dream therapy as a means to help people. 

Altogether it is a very enjoyable film to watch but it may take multiple viewings to get a better understanding of the story and the concepts the film introduces. I would recommend this to both those who watch anime and those who don't.

Illustration list

figure 1 poster: (accessed 28/02/2016) 


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