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With: Megumi Hayashibara, Toru Furuya, Koichi Yamadera, Katsunosuke Hori,Toru Emori, Akio Otsuka, Hideyuki Tanaka, Satomi Koorogi, Daisuke Sakaguchi, Mitsuo Iwata, Rikako Aikawa, Shinichiro Ota, Satoshi Kon, Yasutaka Tsutsui (voices)
Written by: Seishi Minakami, Satoshi Kon, based on a novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui
Directed by: Satoshi Kon
MPAA Rating: R for violent and sexual images
Language: Japanese with English subtitles
Running Time: 90
Date: 09/01/2006

Paprika (2007)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Dream Walking

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Anime filmmaker Satoshi Kon follows up his excellent, mature, straightforward films Millennium Actress and Tokyo Godfathers with this more traditional entry that uses sci-fi, futuristic and apocalyptic elements. But his technical skills seem to have developed as well, and he turns in a spectacular experience, full of bizarre, frightening and beautiful dream logic. (Some of it seems to have been inspired by Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away).

A gizmo called the "DC Mini" can view people's dreams, but when it is stolen, various dreams begin to merge and intrude upon reality. Giant robots and dolls march in the streets, and a detective finds himself inside movie scenes from Tarzan and Roman Holiday. Dr. Chiba (voiced by Megumi Hayashibara) enters the dream world as her redheaded alter ego Paprika, who can fly, stop time, step into pictures and photographs, etc.

The key to the film's success is the way Kon shifts between dreams in a fluid, startling way, which feels organic. The film's energetic score, by Susumu Hirasawa, tops off this amazing package. Sony Pictures Classics is releasing the film theatrically in Japanese with English subtitles.

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