Books are my Boyfriends, but FOREIGN FILMS ARE MY HOOKUPS: PAPRIKA

So I love movies basicallyalmostlikethiscloseasmuch to the amount that I love books.. I love the pants off of movies, I love the fricking THONGS and BOXER BRIEFS off of movies. Which is why I’ve been justalittlebitthissideofsad that I can’t blog about films on this blog, because I date books on this blog, and movies aren’t books, and life is so hard and sad and unfair and also I have to buy a new tube of toothpaste and answer backlogged e-mails and Craigslist a new apartment and look at all the first world problems I have.

And then I found a loophole. It’s such a cheating loophole. To be fair, most loopholes are basically cheating. The trick is to be as awesome about your cheating as possible, so people are more focused on the awesomeness and less focused on the cheatingness. Loophole, let’s go!

So you know how in foreign films they have subtitles because most people don’t speak every language on the Planet Earth? You know how when you see subtitles your read them? LIKE YOU READ A BOOK. Boom. Foreign films are mongrel, semi-formed, half-breed books. Foreign films are the missing link between Vintage Classics and Shitty Summer Blockbusters involving Space Robots and Exploding Trains. Foreign films aren’t exactly boyfriends. But I’ll be damned if they aren’t preheat-your-oven-to-350-degrees-HOT hookups.

So this week we’re hooking up with foreign films on the blog.

Starting with PAPRIKA.

PAPRIKA is a 2006 Japanese animated film directed by Satoshi Kon. In the film, psychotherapy takes a science fiction turn when a machine is invented that allows therapists to enter their patients’ dreams. That’s the fun part. When you as a therapist go into your patient’s dream, you acquire a crazy-fun alter ego. That’s the REALLY fun part. So naturally the shy, quiet, repressed-all-the-way-up-her-butt protagonist therapist Atsuko Chiba…

…enters dreams and magically transforms into adorable-cheeks, giggle-monster, sass-in-her-pants kicky Paprika:

It’s really fun to play the game “Who would your psychotherapist dream avatar in Paprika be?” This game ranks up there with “What would your Harry Potter Patronus be?”,”What would your Golden Compass Daemon be?” and “What would the sexy, sparkling, shirtless teenage monster who inexplicably falls in love with you even though you could not be a more non-descript and boring white girl in a Stephenie Meyer book be?”

However, all is not well in dream world.* Three of the Put-You-Inside-People’s-Brains-While-They’re-Sleeping machines are stolen, and a shadowy villain starts inserting himself inside people’s subconsciouses. Villains and peoples’ dreaming brains do not mix, Freddy Kreuger and his skinny metal fingers taught us this lesson well, and we do a review session on this basic concept in PAPRIKA. Psyche-freaky-deeky-delic dreams ensue, people die horrible deaths in both dreams and reality, dreams and reality bleed together, toys parade creepily, human bodies turn into butterflies scarily, a giant robot stomps around tearing apart Tokyo terrifyingly, and all the while Chiba/Paprika is running back and forth between Dream Tokyo and Real Tokyo and Dream-Bleeding-Into-Real Tokyo, trying to staunch the chaos gushing from these gaping holes in the universe,  all the while Chiba learning to embrace her “inner-Paprika.” So she’s saving the world/trying to become a more sass-in-her-pants-human-being. It’s like Japan custom-made a movie just for me, wrapped in a bow and said “Here you go Books-are-my-Boyfriends-San, happy Cherry Blossom Christmas/Samurai New Year.**”

There are so many things I crush about in PAPRIKA. It’s inventive to the moon and back. It’s a cartoon that’s rated R. It’s like watching the coolest dream you ever had multiplied by five thousand. And, and aaaaand…. it’s just about the prettiest thing that was ever projected onto a nylon screen. Watching this film is like walking through a gorgeous-ass garden, only instead of flowers, you are stopping to smell SO MUCH GOOD ANIMATION. Case in point, the following images:

When we talk about Japanese animation all we talk about is Hazao Miyazaki and SPIRITED AWAY. Sometimes HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE and PRINCESS MONONOKE are thrown a bone. If you’re around screaming five-year-olds and a DVD player you might hear PONYO tossed around. If you’re around college nerds that take themselves too seriously, COWBOY BEBOP will likely be a part of some semi-stoned discussion that takes place at four in the morning on a Thursday.

We need to start talking about PAPRIKA. It may not be a book boyfriend, but if it’s a hook-up you are looking for it is a hook-up YOU WILL GET with Paprika. Impress your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/immediate family/roommates/whoever you would sit on a couch and watch movies with when it’s your turn to pick the next Netflix. Pick Paprika! Paprika for Hook-up, Paprika for President, Paprika for Basically Anything You Can Write On A Picket Sign and Wave Around in Self-Righteous Support!

*This is good for us audience members, because “All is well” in stories is synonymous with “We heard that Tylenol PM wasn’t working too well for you, so we produced this movie to help you fall asleep, if this movie where “all is well” doesn’t put you to sleep after twenty minutes, drop a Lunesta and an Ambien into your glass of water and drink up, we’ll bill your insurance.”

** I clearly don’t know what holidays they celebrate in Japan.


One Comment on “Books are my Boyfriends, but FOREIGN FILMS ARE MY HOOKUPS: PAPRIKA”

  1. Claire says:

    “What would the sexy, sparkling, shirtless teenage monster who inexplicably falls in love with you even though you could not be a more non-descript and boring white girl in a Stephenie Meyer book be?”

    You. Are. Awesome.

    Also, as someone who hasn’t seen a Japanese movie since Spirited Away first hit VHS and the kids I babysat wanted to watch it over and over and OVER, I might have to actually check this out. Hooray!


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