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A Dash of Anime 

Wednesday, Aug 8 2007
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Though anime director Satoshi Kon is renowned for the detailed realism on display in films like Perfect Blue and Tokyo Godfathers, you wouldn't know it from the opening scenes of Paprika. The film begins with a police detective and a mysterious nymph pursuing a killer through abruptly shifting scenes and different movie genres, eventually arriving at a parade of dinosaurs. It's all a dream, of course, but for the rest of the movie the line between the dream world and reality are much more fluid. The story involves a team of doctors who use experimental technology to view and (in the title character's case) enter their patients' dreams as a means of literal dream-work. A thief purloins one of the devices and begins invading the REM of the doctors (and soon the populace), who hunt for the culprit through a collective, chaotic dreamscape. The film is adapted from Yasutaka Tsutsui's psychoanalytically dense sci-fi novel of the same name, but Satoshi eschewed much of the technical jargon, choosing to visually render the characters' astral adventures. The result is a hallucinatory treat akin to Waking Life reimagined as an espionage film.

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John Garmon

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