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  • Claude Jerome - The Internet and Dreams
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There is a strong connection between dreams and the Internet drawn in the film, Paprika. The film’s main character, Paprika, describes this ongoing theme with the quote “the Internet and dreams are the means of expressing the inhibitions of mankind”.  The main conflict the film reflects the idea that both the Internet and dreams function as mediums through which people can escape the suppression of their most primal and basic impulses and desires.

Often, people are seen are insensitive or extremists on the Internet. This is normally due to the factor of anonymity. Online, people are free of persistent reputation or tangible threat so it is easier to express oneself or one’s ideas. Satoshi Kon explores the idea that dreams are another way for us to manifest our truest selves in a clear and expressive form. This is seen rather effectively with the plight of Osanai. It is not entirely clear what Osanai’s motives or motivations were until we saw his true self in the dream world and can clearly identify his goals. The film explores the idea of shared dreaming. Shared dreaming implies that our truest, most inner selves will be exposed to those who are sharing a given experience. In many cases, this may bring about unforeseen conflicts of interest as such was the case with Osanai, Chiba and the Chairman.

Many of the main characters in Paprika are dominate and definitive characteristic that is most prominent while the character is the dream world. In the real world, we can see behavioral patterns in these characters that are indicative of their personalities and traits; however, Satoshi Kon makes it dreadfully obvious in the dream world who these characters really are (for example, the toy robot version of Tokida and the two-headed body of the Chairman and Osanai). This distinction in presentation helps to build a stronger connection between the audience and these characters. The pacing of the film allows the viewer to draw their own conclusions and build their own perception of these characters before seeing the dream world revelation of each of the characters’ true selves.

The conflict of dreams merging with reality is seen, in the film, as this phantasmagoric apocalypse where society is crumbling (literally) beneath its feet and unable to steer itself back into control. Up until the point in the movie where this is actually happening, the fact that dreams expose our true selves and the idea of shared dreaming are both seen mostly as good things. At this point, the audience is asked to reconsider said notions as they see how destructive to society a lack of unified inhibition may be. Society is a delicate entity that needs behavior constraints of social inhibition in order to continue functioning. As soon as we begin to lose these constraints or dreams being to invade society, we lose sight of what is real and begin to make more destructive and irrational decisions. In the end, however, it is also important for us not to dismiss what we see in ourselves from dreaming as irrational or impulsive as there are things we can learn from self-reflection. This point also exhibited in the film as many of the characters find their behavioral equilibrium as they’ve accepted balancing personality traits as revealed to them by this inter-dream catastrophe.

Paprika is a film that explores very complicated ideas an in an ostensibly facetious context. However, it uses this otherworldly and fantastic imagery to its advantage as it allows for a brilliant distinction of world spaces and a strangely familiar means for its audience to relate to the extraordinary and mysterious nature of dreaming. Without this connection, it would be impossible for audiences to relate to the implicit message of the film or to see how the characters’ interaction with their dream selves allowed them to grow or brought them to their demise. Satoshi Kon challenges the audience to question what is not only real in context of the film’s plot, but he challenges us to question what is real about ourselves in our own dreams.

Works Cited

1. Paprika: Interview with Satoshi Kon." Interview by Romain Le Vern. DVDrama. Excessif.com. Web. 02 Oct. 2010. Interview discussing Paprika, Satoshi Kon mentions that dreams are in danger of being viewed as obsolete.

2. "Anonymity on the Internet." People.dsv.su.se. Web. 13 Nov. 2010. <http://people.dsv.su.se/~jpalme/society/anonymity.html>.

3. "Inhibition (psychology) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia." Encyclopedia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Web. 13 Nov. 2010. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/288244/inhibition>.

4. Aguiar, Bill. "Robofish : Tp Article - TOKYOPOP." HOME - TOKYOPOP. 25 Apr. 2007. Web. 02 Oct. 2010. <http://www.tokyopop.com/Robofish/tp_article/688419.html>. Satoshi Kon describes subjective and objective reality, and their significance.

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