Satoshi Kon directed Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers and Magnetic Rose from the anthology film Memories and now has created Paprika. I’d heard that it was worth watching but not much of what it was actually about, other than dreams. I checked it out on a whim a few days ago and watched part of it yesterday and finished it today. It’s good.
A few reviews have mentioned that it doesn’t have much of a plot. Personally, I felt it was plot heavy compared to Millennium Actress.
In the film a new technology has been invented, the DC Mini. The DC Mini allows therapists to enter the dreams of their patients. A thief, likely to be an insider, has stolen a prototype and is using it to control people via their dreams. Dr. Chiba and her associates must recover it before reality is destroyed.
Like some of his other projects, this movie has dopplegangers, tension between reality and fiction, guilty consciences and a scene with an unhealthy sexual aura. I think this one is his best one yet. There is a degree of playfulness, of winking at the audience, that makes this one much lighter than the others.
There are a lot of references to other films, such as Pinocchio and Blade Runner and Kon’s own films (which made me smile). There are Greek and Japanese myths and probably tons of references I just didn’t notice. I watched it through once and then certain scenes again to understand the ending better.
In the commentary, the creators discuss the sexual quality in the butterfly scene. The director commented that he had to tone down the level of eroticism in the novel for an “all ages film.” Oh my. Perhaps I’m conservative but I thought the movie was too much for anyone but adults.
If nothing else, you’ve got to watch the opening scene and the title credits.
Cinefantastique has a good review.