Paprika (2006) by Satoshi Kon | Film As Art #34

in CineTV13 days ago


Dir — Satoshi Kon


If you've seen Christopher Nolan's Inception and are familiar with the central concept the film is built upon, dream within a dream, and venturing into someone else's dream world, then you will find Paprika's concept familiar as well. That is so because Paprika is the film Nolan got his inspiration from and not only he took the concept, he also re-made some shots from Paprika and used them in his film.

When Inception came out in 2010, it took the world by surprise and shook everyone hard. No one ever saw anything like it! The sheer novelty was overwhelming for all. Then there was another buzz, Inception wasn't as novel as people thought it to be. Many in the filmgoing circle pointed out Paprika to be the pioneer, an animated film by Satoshi Kon. Kon was a master filmmaker and has his own dedicated fanbase. Some of the enthusiast ones were even calling out Nolan for stealing from Kon. I liked inception quite a lot and heard all these commotions and naturally was curious about Paprika. This is how I found my way to Paprika and also Satoshi Kon.

Whether Nolan stole from Kon is a debate I don't like to get into and I've found things to cherish from both films. Inception dealt with dreams a tad more seriously, methodically. The sci-fi of it is well developed. On the other hand, Paprika is beautifully chaotic and less constrained. Albeit, I believe, Paprika is a better work of art, cinematically speaking.

After my first viewing of the film, I was flabbergasted to say the least. It was my first experience with Kon's genius way of editing and I couldn't keep track of things. I also didn't understand why I was so overwhelmed watching the film. Then came the dream scenes and the parade!
The parade is made of inanimate objects, people, things, all singing, dancing with placards, and going somewhere. The scene, is something so bizarre, so unthinkable, and along with the unique, surreal music Kon uses in his films; it became a force, from which there was no escape, there was no hiding, and I felt like joining it, jumping in the monitor and being one with the crowd, dancing an eternal dance to madness!

The original music tracks from the film, I've listened to them many times, and every time the parade music played, I could see the parade in my mind, all dancing, and singing, chaos incarnation, going somewhere. Definitely, that scene was burnt in my mind.

I've seen some portions of the film over the years and realized later on that I was initially overwhelmed by Kon's scene transitions and stylish way of blending visual cues and using them for storytelling. Due to my poor film understanding, I did not grasp them at first. And I suspect anyone who does not see films from purely an artistic point of view will find Paprika pointless and silly.

In my recent watch a few weeks ago, I've realized I've completely forgotten the story of Paprika. All I remember was the parade and some impressive shots. Enjoyed the film again, and been listening to the songs again.

Here, let me attach the tracks. Although if you've never seen the film, you probably won't be able to see the brilliance of them. Do see the film.

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Hi @notacinephile!

First I must say that I am a fan of anime and Paprika is a piece that dazzled me because it shows the creative capacity of the Japanese. Of course, when I saw Nolan's Inception, the first thing that came to my mind was Paprika and I understand why there may be some uproar in the Paprika fan line. However, it would be unfair to fall into an issue of which came first, the chicken or the egg. Each of the films has its spirit and plots well calculated and adapted for each cinematography. For me they are two masterpieces that must be seen from the conceptual point of view of each.

I think what came first can clearly be discerned in this case, this is not a chicken/egg ambiguous case.

But yes, both films are fine in their own accord, I will agree to that.

I was not aware that Inception was based off this film.

For some reason most of the anime films never clicked with me, granted I've only watched a few of the big ones like Akira and Ghost in the Shell. I may have to seek this out and try my luck again. You've certainly made it sound very appealing and I'd like to see the fountain of inspiration for Nolan.

Akira and Ghost in the shell are both influential. The same with Paprika. But it has less of a cult status and I'd say it influenced the filmmakers more than the audience.

I watched Paprika on the big screen, at a film festival in The Netherlands ( in 2006 or 2007 ), when it was still very new. I enjoyed the experience a lot but it didn't blow me away. Back then, I had already seen loads of amazing movies, including some crazy anime/ animation.

Funny enough, I never got to see Inception and one of the main reasons is that it felt so hyped that I distanced myself from it, waiting for a moment when I actually felt like seeing it.

I never knew that Nolan was inspired by Paprika. Reading this actually makes me feel like giving Inception a watch, one day soon.

Thank you for the heads up :>)

Nolan's films do create hypes and they are often presented as something grand, in actuality they are not. Now, I don't think the fault lies with the director, he has his style. It's the mass audience who are easily swayed.

Having said that, Inception is pretty good. You get a mind bending sci-fi movie for your time and money. Happy watching. :)

Nolan's films do create hypes and they are often presented as something grand, in actuality they are not.

It sure seems like it.

A mind bending sci-fi movies definitely sounds like something I might like ;>)


There is a lot of Hollywood stuff that rips off anime and manga, but Nolan seems to be paying homage more than anything, maybe? I kind of feel Satoshi Kon does the same for Evangelion or Akira in some ways, and in some of his work he seems to be ripping off himself. It's done so well though.

I actually just watched Paranoia Agent episode 8. 5 more left. I kind of remember all this but I only remember when I see it. I love him so much.

BTW do you know 20th Century Boys (the manga, fuck the movie)? Knowing with Nicolas Cage ripped it off entirely, and I think the people ruling the world have also ripped it off. That or it pulled some hardcore Simpson prediction work.

Yeah, Nolan's inclusion of the scenes seems like homage. Arofonsky did the same too, used one shot from Perfect Blue (the bathtub shot) in his Black Swan.
All of Kon's works have a similar vibe to them, music, animation and often tropes too. His own unique world.

Take the opening song of Paranoia agent for an example, it reminds me of Paprika's The Girl in Byakkoya song. And that episode of Paranoia Agent where the two detectives go on an adventure with that fake shonen bat claiming to be a mystical warrior, the structure is similar to Millennium Actress.
Too bad he died prematurely, I'd love to see more from him. Such a loss for humanity.

I don't know of 20th century boys though, not a manga follower.

I didn't know this movie yet. It looks very nice and I'm gonna put it on my list.

Ah! You're in for a treat then!
I've never seen so many match cuts in close succession in any other film. It's a visual treat for film enthusiasts.

It's a visual treat for film enthusiasts.

So, I'll have to check this out.

I recently reviewed this great classic of oriental animations. It's just an amazing movie. Normally I have some difficulty with "animes" for example because of the excess of futuristic and "magical" themes, but Paprika manages to deviate from all this by being immersed in the reality of dreams and the level of futurism expressed is quite tolerable. Without a doubt, it is a unique work that clearly influenced cinema. I need to see more art from this amazing creator.

There are some masterful works in anime medium. I'm sure you're aware of Ghibli movies and there's individual works like The Ninja Scroll, Akira, Angels Egg, Ghost in the shell and so on.

I've seen everything Satoshi Kon ever made and most of his creations are very artistic. Watch them when you can. :)

I remember watching and liking this film very much. If you are looking for some high-quality anime, I would recommend you to watch Perfect Blue, the first story of the anthology film from 1995 called Memories, Your Name (this one is a masterpiece), 5 Centimeters per second and Weathering with You. The last 3 are from the same creator and I recommend watching Your Name last.

If you are interested in great anime series just let me know and I can name you the ones I have enjoyed the most.