PAPRIKA - Dreaming a dream
At 29, Dr. Atsuko Chiba is an attractive but reserved Japanese psychotherapeutic researcher, winner of the Nobel; has an alter-ego, a 'dream detective', only 18 years old, a beautiful and very brave girl, called PAPRIKA, able to enter people's dreams and synchronize with their unconscious thanks to the use of a device , the DC-Mini. The DC-Mini is still awaiting official government approval to be used as a psychotherapeutic treatment; the law is about to be voted on by parliament.
The inventor of the DC-Mini is Dr. Tokita, a brilliant but rather clumsy colleague of Atsuko, a genius with a certain tendency to overeat.
When one of the four prototypes of the contraption is stolen from the Foundation for Psychiatric Research, the laboratory falls into the deepest chaos. In the wrong hands, the potential of improper use of the device could be devastating, allowing the user to totally annihilate the dreamer's personality while sleeping. By a strange coincidence, Tokita's assistant, Himuro, has disappeared, becoming the major suspect. As, one after the other, the researchers of the laboratory begin to show signs of imbalance, reached by dreams even when awake, Atsuko realizes that those who have been most exposed to the car are the most vulnerable to interference in their dreams, even though they are not physically connected to the DC-Mini; this means that she is the one who takes the greatest risk. In all the dreams of the researchers of the laboratory, a menacing Japanese doll appears as the protagonist, a character present in the dreams of a schizophrenic patient of Himuro, a fact that involves even more the missing researcher. The lab manager would like to find Himuro at all costs before the matter goes public and could compromise the legal approval of the device. Instead Seijiro Inui, President of the research laboratory, sees this as an opportunity to cancel the project and says that such a machine "should never have been invented".
When Atsuko's boss, Torataro Shima, the laboratory manager, troubled by a bizarre dream, attempts to commit suicide, Atsuko decides to try to solve the mystery himself. A drawing on Dr. Tokita's t-shirt gives her a clue as to where she might find Himuro, the missing researcher. After penetrating her dreams, Atsuko realizes that someone even more sinister is there, and is therefore behind the theft. Meanwhile, a young and attractive researcher, Dr. Osanai, seems eager to help the doctor, and even saves her life when she too falls into a dream state and is about to fall from a balcony. But Dr. Osanai seems to want to somehow challenge the brilliant Dr. Tokita, whom he regards as a rival in more than one field.
As Atsuko's boss Shima gets trapped in sleep, the researcher decides to try to slip into her dreams through her alter ego, Paprika, with the intention of saving him and confronting whoever is behind all this. Although Shima is close to death, Paprika eventually manages to bring him back to reality; together they decide that Shima should stay in the hospital to prevent the council, of which he is a member, meeting and voting against the continuation of the DC-Mini project.
Meanwhile, detective Konakawa is called to the laboratory by Torataro Shima, his old school friend, for a meeting with Atsuko and Himuro's boss, Dr. Tokita. Konakawa fully understands the power and harmful potential of the DC Mini, having himself received psychiatric treatment with the assistance of 'dream girl', Paprika, in an attempt to cure his anxiety resulting from a recent murder case. unsolved. As soon as she meets Atsuko, she is immediately surprised, but doesn't let her know that she and Paprika are the same person. The detective at first suspects that Himuro stole the DC-Mini to try to credit himself for the invention. He questions his friend Torataro Shima, head of the laboratory, with whom he had started his therapeutic treatments and who had introduced him to Paprika. She immediately asks him if Atsuko and Paprika are the same person. Shima confirms that this is the case, but tells him that Paprika's existence is a secret until the Psychiatric Treatment Bill passes and the procedure becomes legal. He explains that the laboratory has been under tremendous pressure since the theft and that, following the recent incidents, the media has begun to monitor his work. In addition, pressure is also exerted from inside the laboratory as the President, Seijiro Inui, confined to a wheelchair, tries to persuade Shima to resign as head of the laboratory and bear all responsibility for the theft. But Shima suspects Inui has a bigger plan - and intends to extend his authority, even taking over his role.
Shima decides to send Paprika to the aid of Detective Konakawa, still psychologically struggling with his murder case. In a recurring dream he is trapped in a cage at the circus, surrounded by people with the same face as him. He then dreams of being locked in an elevator where each floor where the elevator stops is a film whose interpreters, in different roles, are always him and Paprika, and continues to use the number 17. As soon as Paprika enters his dream , they are immediately interrupted by the same strange carnival parade of dolls and refrigerators that Paprika has already encountered in Shima's dreams; this makes her realize that in the detective's dreams there must be an intruder. Suddenly he sees Doctor Tokita as a giant out of control robot and tries to bring the sleeping ones back to reality: in fact, both Tokita's and Himuro's dreams are mingling with Detective Konakawa's. With the intention of saving Tokita, the girl returns to the laboratory to enter Himuro's dream as Paprika. He can't find it, not even in his dreams, but he comes across hundreds of little dolls with the features of Tokita and then a huge statue of Doctor Osanai. She then transforms into a small winged fairy and discovers Himuro's shocking deteriorated and empty carcass and fears that he will never return from the dream state. Suddenly, the President of the laboratory appears and instead of his useless legs, he materializes with the torso of a huge tree whose roots, like offensive weapons, stretch, try to trap Paprika who has to run away to save himself.
Paprika (Atsuko) accuses the President of trying to take over the whole world by taking control of people's dreams. Immediately she falls into an ambush by Doctor Osanai, who tries to capture her. At the lab, her boss, who is watching everything that happens on the scanner screen, desperately tries to wake her up. Atsuko (Paprika) realizes that Osanai is employed by the President and taunts him on this matter as he pursues her. Suddenly she "wakes up" finding herself nailed to a table like the butterflies of the collection that hangs on the walls of the room where she is imprisoned. Osanai is standing there, looming over her - he has finally captured her. Paprika tries to manipulate him with mind games and accuses him of selling his soul and body to the President in an attempt to distract him. Osanai reacts with anger and tells her that he has been chosen by the President himself. And finally she confesses to a shocked Paprika that he loves her for who she really is - Dr. Atsuko Chiba.
Meanwhile, Detective Konakawa, who has entered the world of his dreams, is waiting for Paprika. In the dream he drinks something at the counter of a bar and the two barmen ask him why he doesn't love cinema. Suddenly Konakawa understands the meaning of the number 17. When he was a 17-year-old boy he had made an 8mm film. with his best friend and together they had talked about the project of making films, but then Konakawa had decided he did not want to continue on that path. The friend had felt very disappointed in him, and later Konakawa had learned that his friend was seriously ill and would soon die. All these years the detective had been burdened with guilt for having disappointed his friend. Entering a cinema, Konakawa sees on the screen the image of Paprika trapped by Osanai in the butterfly collection room. The detective desperately tries to get inside the movie screen to save her. Osanai is rummaging with his hand under Paprika's skin, who, withdrawing, reveals the figure of Atsuko. Suddenly the president of the laboratory appears, sharing the same body with Osanai - he is furious that the young researcher puts everything at risk for a woman. The two, united in the same body, fight against each other as Osanai tries to stop the President from killing Atsuko. Detective Konakawa breaks through the screen and frees the young woman, but Osanai continues to chase them, even when Konakawa hides in his dreams. By manipulating the detective's dreams, Osanai brings him back to his terrifying recurring nightmare, in the hotel corridor where he tries to chase the killer. Suddenly the detective realizes what he has to do and finally shoots the runaway killer, who in the dream is Osanai. Once he has shot him, Konakawa realizes that he has managed to free himself from the fear that haunted him. His "movie" is over and he saves Paprika like the hero does at the end of each film. The audience of the dream, in the hall, applauds and he kisses Paprika. Immediately Atsuko wakes up and slaps the face of her boss who is standing next to her instead of Konakawa's. Shima is shocked, but is happy that he was able to awaken Atsuko and that she is still alive. Atsuko sees the transparent shadow of Osanai, aching from the wound from Konakawa's gunshot. She understands that in the end the President has taken possession of Osanai's body and that he is dying.
As soon as Atsuko and Shima leave the laboratory, a huge Japanese doll, out of the world of dreams, begins to tear down the walls of the building; the two get to safety by running. Outside, in the street, the great carnival parade is parading together with the Japanese doll. Atsuko realizes that the whole world is dreaming, and that dreams and reality are mixing.
Tokita appears again in the appearance of a robot but now launches missiles aimed at them. Immediately, alongside Atsuko, his alter-ego, Paprika, appears, determined to stop him. Atsuko and Shima are amazed that Atsuko and his alter-ego can be found in the same place at the same time. Atsuko tells Paprika that he is only a part of her and cannot exist separately, that he has to listen to her, but Paprika does not want to. And in turn Paprika asks Atsuko if she never thought she was a part of Paprika and not the other way around. Atsuko realizes that the reason that prevents her from abandoning Tokita to her fate is that she is in love with him, and is finally able to understand how she feels about him. Paprika comments, wisely, that finally Atsuko "has become aware of himself", but when the doctor approaches and tries to reason Tokita, still trapped in the big robot, he reacts by swallowing her in one gulp.
Shima and Paprika are shocked to see that the world of dreams is getting darker; and a huge black hole appears, communicating with the other world.
The President, now transformed into a terrible black figure towering over the city and covering the world in darkness, claims he can control dreams, even death - he has become the Lord of Darkness. Paprika understands that light and shadow are reflections of reality and dream, respectively, and that she needs to do something drastic to save the world. It takes on the appearance of a little girl who, swallowing the darkness, grows more and more, becoming a young woman capable of sucking up the obscure figure of the President. The light returns to the city. Tokita awakens as if from a long sleep. He says he has just had the best dream of his life and, turning around, he finds Atsuko holding his hand lovingly. Shima and the detective quietly walk away to leave them alone. Konakawa realizes that Paprika is the woman of his dreams but that she can never be his. When, later, he checks his dream site on the internet, she left him a farewell message telling him that his surname will change to Tokita and recommends that he go see the movie called Dreaming Kids. The detective, finally free from fears and anguish, leaves his office and enters a movie theater. Movies no longer scare him ...
|Animation / Thriller
|Mad House - Animatrix / Tokyo Godfathers / Metropolis
|Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
|15 June 2007