Paprika follows a group of scientists who have pioneered a radical new tool for psychotherapy treatment: the DC Mini, which allows therapists to enter a person’s dreams and analyse their subconscious mind.
“Paprika can be seen as the culmination, or even a desire to go further, of an approach begun with Perfect Blue, the intertextuality of which finds its most solid support in the television series Paranoia Agent (2004). Both films are adaptations of novels by Yasutaka Tsutsui, who draws on his own dreams as material for his writing. Kon's thematic preoccupations are in fact those that have nourished modern cinema since Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958): the illusions of reality, the dichotomy between reality and dreams, the collision of different physical and mental spaces, and the need for characters to find their bearings in the midst of this disintegration, in line with filmmakers such as David Lynch and David Cronenberg (Paprika has more than one similarity with Videodrome and Existenz).
Initially, Paprika follows the codes of thrillers and science fiction, which it clearly abandons to make genre boundaries obsolete, so much so that the symbolic dimension takes precedence over the narrative. The dream contaminates the real (marked by the gradual empowerment of Paprika, Atsuko Chiba's dream avatar), the exploration of virtuality becomes total, and fiction joins the disorders of the unconscious.”
- 1Guillaume Mainguet, Paprika. Document pédagogique, 2009.