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NYFF: “Paprika.”

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"Isn't it wonderful?"
While Satoshi Kon‘s "Paprika" couldn’t be called the film with the most emotional depth at the festival (or of Kon’s career), it’s probably the most deliriously pop fun. It peeks into the lives of a research division developing the DC Mini, an invention that lets you access and enter another person’s dreams, and a convenient excuse for fabulous sequences of phantasmagoric imagery. When three of the still-in-development devices are stolen, the scientists investigate the matter themselves, hoping to protect their project (which is controversial and not yet approved by the government). The lab is run by the elf-like Dr. Shima. The head psychotherapist is the pretty, reserved Dr. Atsuko Chiba (voiced by the prolific Megumi Hayashibara). The inventor of the DC Mini is Dr. Tokita, a cheerfully obese, childish genius. And the whole thing is overseen from afar by the disapproving Chairman, who’s bald and wheelchair-bound and hangs out in greenhouses, "The Big Sleep" be damned.

Kon loves the divide between people’s interior and exterior lives and the moments when the two bleed together (he’s a little overfond of the visual shorthand of someone looking at their reflection and seeing something other than him or herself). "Paprika" lets him play with these ideas literally — the dreamscapes are overflowing with chaotic memories and tamped-down impulses. Most telling is the way the characters envision themselves in dreams. One rather ominously is accompanied by a cloud of butterflies; another becomes a giant robot. And then there’s the title character, the intrepid, outgoing Paprika, a young girl who slips through the world of dreams effortlessly, and who turns out poignantly to be the alter-ego of Dr. Chiba. The schism between the real life Chiba and her dream self is such that everyone in the lab, including herself, thinks of Paprika as a separate person. Paprika is the expression of all that Chiba isn’t — straightforward, warm, and, as the opening montage of her flitting through the city accompanied by the soaring, abrupt techno theme that greets her appearances attests, free.

"Paprika" is adopted from a novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui, and tries to take on far too much plot. Unaccountable developments are explained away with a few lines of pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo — best to just let them slide by. The animation is nicely done, and Kon favors a realistic style, should anyone have an aversion to sweat-drops and huge, shimmery eyes.

Screens October 7 at Alice Tully Hall; will receive some sort of release from Sony Pictures next year.

+ "Paprika" (NYFF)
+ "Paprika" (Sony)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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