PAPRIKA (Satoshi Kon, 2006)
Museum of the Moving Image
35th Ave. at 36th St., Astoria
Saturday, December 27, and Sunday, December 28, free with museum admission, 6:00
Based on the novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui, Paprika is an animated, futuristic sci-fi thriller in which reality and dreams merge in clever and confusing ways. The title character is a superhero psychotherapist who can enter people’s dreams by using cutting-edge technology known as the DC MINI, which was invented by Dr. Tokita, a huge man with a baby face and a tremendous appetite. When one of the prototypes is stolen, Paprika, whose alter ego is Dr. Atsuko Chiba of the Foundation for Psychiatric Research, sets out to find the thief, who is using the invaluable — and not fully tested and approved — equipment for seemingly evil purposes. Other central characters include Torataro Shima, the adorable old chief of the lab; the ruthless, wheelchair-bound foundation chairman, Seijiro Inui; Detective Konakawa, who develops a liking for Paprika; Dr. Osanai, a hunky researcher; and lab assistant Himuro, who has gone missing but can be seen in dreams. Adapted by Satoshi Kon, the director of Millennium Actress and Tokyo Godfathers who sadly died of cancer in 2010 at the age of forty-six, and featuring the voices of Megumi Hayashibara, Toru Emori, Katsunosuke Hori, Toru Furuya, and Akio Ohtsuka, Paprika is an entertaining, if at times hard to follow, anime with lots of cute characters and some very beautiful scenes. The film is screening December 27-28 at 6:00 as part of the Museum of the Moving Image’s “See It Big! Animation” series, which also includes Brad Bird’s Ratatouille December 26-28.