Scenes I Go Back To: Paprika

An opening sequence that constantly twists and tweaks that which is “normal” and “real.”

I think Grady Hendrix said it best in his review of Satoshi Kon’s Paprika:

After a brief opening scene Paprika launches into a credits sequence where its main character floats through nighttime Tokyo and I haven’t seen a piece of film that’s sharper or smarter in a long time and it really got to me.

Because he’s an animator, and has to draw every sigh, every piece of garbage, every blink of an eye, Satoshi Kon scrutinizes real life more closely than most directors and he doesn’t take anything for granted. When he shows you a woman out by herself in a big city late at night he’s condensing everything real about that situation into three short minutes, putting it under high pressure and tweaking it with animation to kick it slightly off-center. He pulls reality so tightly that when he plays it, it sings.

As wonderful as the animation is, though, what really sells this scene for me is Susumu Hirasawa’s score, which manages to be both joyous and eerie at the same time — and perfectly suited for a movie that constantly twists and tweaks that which is ​“normal” and ​“real.” My review can be found here.


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