Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Paprika (2006)
JAPAN --- science fiction/animation

Dir: Satoshi Kon

Acclaimed Anime director dives into another psychological tale, this one a science fiction tale based on a novel from Japanese author Yasutaka Tsutsui. The film is based in the near future where a team of research psychologists/therapists are using an experimental device called the "DC Mini" that records dreams and allows the psychologists to enter patients dreams. One psychologist who has almost mastered this is Dr. Atsuko Chiba and her alter-ego "Paprika". She has been counseling Detective Toshimi Konakawa who has repressed memories that emerge in recurring enigmatic nightmares, in which "Paprika" assists in helping him come to conclusions of what they may mean, by actually showing him a replay of his exact dream.

However, being a device that has yet be approved by the government, the team find that one of their colleagues may be trapped in the device. They hold a meeting once they discover that three of the DC Mini prototypes has been stolen. Also, it seems that a contagious phenomenon has occured when one of the head scientists, Dr. Shima, on the project becomes susceptible to the someone else's dreams, causing him to leap from a building. He survives and realizes that a "dream parade" appeared in his dream, and is happening in reality. Thus opening an ethical discussion of whether or not the "DC Mini" should even be allowed to be used, when it could be misused in the wrong hands. The problem truly comes to ahead when they discover that the dreams are capable of entering the real world, and the wrong people really are in control of it.

This is an intriguing science fiction film. The idea of lucid dreaming (dreams in which you can learn to control) has been around for a very long time. Adding the element of a machine that can show the recorded dreams and play them back to you is great idea, albeit a bit scary notion on the same token. In fact I believe their are some real life companies hard at work on the idea. A new form of entertainment? Perhaps a little too personal at this point.