1 February 2018

Film Review: Satoshi Kon's 'Paprika' (2006)

Fig. 1 Poster

Satoshi Kon's 'Paprika' (2006) has themes of reams within dreams and dreams blending with reality. The film explores technology that has gotten out of hand, it shows the dangers of technological progress, even when the progress is intended to help humanity. In the film a doctor and a detective must recover stolen devices that allow people to enter dreams. Kon based the film on a novel of the same name by Yasutaka Tsutsui. He uses the idea of dreams in much of his work, he began as a background artist who was recognised for 'injecting a staggering level of lived-in detail into each of his compositions' (Jackson, 2008). The detail he places in his animations is very effective in conveying distorted realities, because on the one hand we can see these details but they are also still clearly drawings and drawings that are morphed in very strange ways. The detail in the film contrasted with the strange and unrealistic movements, happenings and transformations works well to create an unsettling effect.

Fig. 2 Dream parade
In the film animation is used in service of the dream premise. Unusual, unrealistic in action and realistic in detail animations are employed to represent dreamscapes. The animation allows for morphing things to more fully represent the distortion possible in dreams. The playful colours and morphing of human characters and inanimate objects is used well to bring the strange and vibrant quality of dreams to the screen. Fig. 2 shows this in action, the variety of bizarre characters and the way they fill the screen with detail creates a dazzling, confusing impression that works to imitate the experience of dreaming.

The film was largely well received; Scott Clarke, writing for Starburst Magazine, describes the film as 'one of the most fulfilling achievements in animation from the past twenty years' (Clarke, 2017). Many reviewers agree that the animation is used effectively to create a dreamscape that resonates with the audience, Clarke comments that 'as an experience it really knows how to exploit dream logic, leap-frogging boundaries with dizzying rapidity' (Clarke 2017). Kon uses his skills and the animation medium to bring a powerful and exciting representation of dreams to the screen.


Clarke, S (2017). 'Paprika (2006)'. At: https://www.starburstmagazine.com/reviews/paprika-2006 (Accessed on 01.2.017)

Jackson, P (2008). 'Paprika'. At: http://www.midnighteye.com/reviews/paprika/ (Accessed on 01.2.017)

Illustration List:

Fig. 1 Poster
Kon, S (2006). 'Paprika'. [Poster] At: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71iy1OY4t-L._SL1125_.jpg (Accessed on 01.2.017)

Fig. 2 Dream Parade
Kon, S (2006). 'Paprika'. [Poster] At: https://s.ynet.me/assets/images/movies/paprika_2006/large-screenshot1.jpg (Accessed on 01.2.017)

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