Ranking Satoshi Kon’s Films (Part 1)

 

Satoshi Kon was one of anime’s greatest directors and visionaries, which is all the more impressive considering he died so young at 46 in 2010. His works have inspired many over the years, including Hollywood’s Christopher Nolan and Darren Aronofsky. I will attempt to rank Kon’s four films, each of which could arguably be placed at number one. I hope to do one entry per blog post; I have a lot to say about each film.

4. Paprika

Paprika is arguably Satoshi Kon’s most ambitious film, and that is truly saying something. It concerns the psychiatric experimentation of connections between the dream world and reality through devices called DC Minis. When one client becomes too involved with the implications of his own nightmares and the DC Mini, what follows is a psychedelic and visually stunning film that blurs the lines between dream and reality.

paprika
The parade in one especially surreal dream sequence in Paprika

In most of Kon’s works, the line between reality and fantasy are seamlessly crossed, often unbeknown to the viewer. In Paprika, a normal occurrence could suddenly turn to a surreal nightmare full of parading anthropomorphic monuments and giant babies. More than any other Kon film, Paprika world builds. The introduction of the dream world opens enough possibilities to create an entire television series. This is its weakness: it is too large of an idea to fit in one film.

Because of this, the ending feels rushed and too high concept for its run time, as opposed to Kon’s other works, which offer some closure. Paprika is still an excellent film; its strengths lie in its crisp, realistic visuals and in its intriguing plot. However, unlike Kon’s other films, this one feels looser and less self-contained.

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