Paprika


Viewed – 25 January 2012  Blu-ray

I had previously only been aware of Japanese animation guru Satoshi Kon after seeing the brilliant Perfect Blue some years ago, and on hearing of his  passing in 2010 from pancreatic cancer, I always promised myself I would seek out anything else he had made.  Paprika, adapted from the novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui, follows the story of an experimental device that enables therapists to enter the dreams of their patients in order to help them.  When the device is stolen, chaos erupts as reality and the world of the dream collide.

This is a startlingly visual experience, awash with colour and imagination.  Kon’s movie assaults the senses and really blew my mind.  It plays with your perception of what is real and what isn’t, much like he did in Perfect Blue, but this time its much more avant garde and limitless, showing a director at the top of his game.  Sad it was to be his last feature.  Yet Satoshi Kon has left the world on a glorious high note, delivering one of the most beautiful and imaginative animated movies I have ever seen.  The detail and wonder on display here, along with utterly freaky music and sound, is often quite breath-taking (the reoccurring image of the parade, the gloriously weird theme tune etc).

Ok, it’s quite hard to follow with the kaleidoscopic style and imagery at times overwhelming, but conventional story structure is not the big selling point here, more the look and ideas, with many visual references including classic Japanese TV show ‘Monkey’, and Disney’s Pinocchio.  Christopher Nolan has cited it as his inspiration for the similar Inception, and also in my opinion it has much in common with David Cronenberg’s Videodrome.

A unique, brain-melting event of a movie that I urge you to seek out immediately.

Verdict:  4 /5