Re: Inception vs. Paprika controversy , 開始対パプリカ論争


なし Re: Inception vs. Paprika controversy , 開始対パプリカ論争

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From moviefone:

Christopher Nolan's dream-within-a-dream saga 'Inception' has endured its fair share of criticism since the movie's release this summer. While many have hailed the film as a visual masterpiece and a true original, others have noted similarities between 'Inception' and a handful of other films like 1984's 'Dreamscape' and the 2006 anime 'Paprika.' Now, [Blues Brothers] director John Landis is adding his vote to the "not original" category by stating that he doesn't think Nolan's latest is anything new.

Landis had this to say about the film: "Interestingly enough 'Inception,' which is wonderful, is not original. There have been a lot of movies like it; remember 'Dreamscape?' Oh that's bad special effects but almost the same movie. It's Dennis Quaid and Edward Albert is the president of the United States and they insert him into his dreams." Do we remember 'Dreamscape,' Landis? Of course we do -- the snake-man was terrifying to young eyes.

Finally an entertainment article with more than just a blurb on the subject:

Owning the Dream: See “Paprika,” Not “Inception”
Jonathan Stromberg | Sep 27, 2010 | Comments 0

“Owning the Dream” is a part of a series titled “This & That” where contributors compare films that range from being obviously the same, i.e. remakes, to films that share enough similarities that a comparison is inevitable.

Perhaps it’s unfair to compare Kon Satoshi’s “Paprika” (2006) to Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” (2010). There is at least some indication that Nolan has seen and was inspired by “Paprika,” though it is hard to say for sure. One could argue Nolan couldn’t be called a responsible filmmaker without seeing such a similar work by a contemporary, especially one that had been so well regarded critically around the world—in fact, the film which elevated Kon into the pantheon to respected auteurs and earned him a career retrospective, after only a decade as a director, at Lincoln Center. Perhaps that as well, would be too harsh a criticism. Many fans of Kon’s work will complain that “Inception” lifts the premise of “Paprika” without acknowledging it and at the same time spoiling it. Fans of Nolan, on the other hand, will argue that “Inception” owes nothing to anyone, that it and “Paprika” couldn’t be any more dissimilar, and that it is itself a masterwork worthy of accolades.

I’ll leave the Nolanites to their sad indignity. To be generous, Nolan’s crime may not be making a bad movie (though I believe he did) so much as failing to make a good movie—at least, one as good as Kon’s. In light of Kon’s recent and tragic death, it is appropriate to highlight his best work, and best qualities, in contrast to such a woefully inadequate competitor.

Both films return to the essential analogy of the cinema as shared dream, with the filmmaker situated as the original, lucid dreamer. This idea, elements of it explored by Jean-Louis Baudry (“The Apparatus,” 1975) and others both before and after, going back at least to Jean Cocteau’s early psychodrama “Le Sang d’un Poète” (1930) and Maya Deren’s seminal works “Meshes of the Afternoon” (1943) and “At Land”(1944), is well trod material. By introducing the science fiction element of a device through which characters may invade each other’s dreams, these films become meta-fiction. They comment not only on their internal dramas, but also on the medium itself. In doing so, they say quite a bit more about filmmaking than about dreaming, and this is one of the areas in which Kon and Nolan diverge.

To dream in Nolan’s imagination means to be enslaved by it. Agents in a shared dream may engage it, in a limited way, but they can neither change it nor challenge the original dream’s architect (who, apparently, is typically absent). Most powerless of all is the dreamer herself, who is the only participant who lacks lucidity. Whether it’s appropriate to take these roles to be analogues to the world of cinema—architect as director, agents as actors, dreamer as audience—is debatable, though this certainly seems to be the intention. After all, why, given the long and established history of the film as dream paradigm, would you ignore such an obvious parallel? And if that was Nolan’s intent, rather than just a slip on his part, what does it say about his opinion of the audience? We appear to be fodder for deception, lured in by brain-bandits trying to tear something precious out of us. And behind it all, the mastermind, in total control, but strangely not implicated in the crime itself—floating above and outside it. The architect has to create a minutely detailed world, and specifically circumscribe the roles of the agents he will insert, so that when he turns them loose upon the dreamer there is only one possible conclusion. In short, the goal of the skilled architect, and the filmmaker, is absolute control. What Nolan renders to us is a totalitarian vision in which he is the invisible dictator. He so generously grants us a dream in which rigid rules and hierarchies, explained to the audience in insufferable exposition, keep us from dreaming at all. The only dreamlike thing about his vision are the characters, who are so improbable and contradictory that even the much derogated audience can tell they could never exist in reality.

Watching “Paprika” gives a completely different experience. One would think animation would be just as megalomaniacal, but it’s clear this isn’t the case at all. Perhaps the reality is that control isn’t the issue at all, but rather the lust for it. Nolan has relatively little control over his film, or the audience’s reaction to it, despite his insistence. Kon on the other hand, who can manipulate almost every aspect of his production as a matter of practice, has no need for oppression. Paprika is a deeply charitable film, which rather than forcing itself upon the audience, approaches bearing gifts. Kon’s avatar in the film, Dr. Tokita, lets slip this beautifully concise statement on the role of filmmaker-as-dreamer, aptly while daydreaming himself:

“Isn’t it wonderful? The ability to see a friend’s dream as if it were your own. To share the same dream.”

This is what Kon wants—to share his dream with you as if it were your own. “Paprika” makes no attempt to force you to succumb to it. In fact, that is what the narrative of the film rails against. Drs. Tokita and Atsuko, and the film’s eponymous protagonist, are racing to defeat a cruel, nihilistic dream infecting Tokyo. The dream is controlled by an aging authoritarian who yearns to be young again and to remake the world in his image—perhaps much as Nolan’s Dom Cobb created his fantasy world with it’s endless expanse of stark gray modernity for him to share alone with a woman he would come to loathe. But this sort of idea isn’t truly a dream, or even a nightmare. It’s a sadistic fantasy. The dreamer in this case feels nothing at all for the innocent people whose psyches this dream devours. Kon, the dreamer behind the dream, however, loves the audience as much as the film. This is intrinsic to the idea of sharing a dream. Where Nolan wants to force you to watch his vision, which can never be your own, Kon wants to share his. He wants his imagery to belong to the audience, and to be loved by the audience. He wants this, simply, because his images, even when dark, are joyful. He wants to share them because they bring him joy to create, and that feeling is transmitted directly through the medium. “Inception,” on the other hand, is one of the least joyous experiences one can have in a theater. This isn’t a failure on the part of the film, which is by any account skillfully crafted, but rather a failure of Nolan’s own imagination—a failure to imagine the audience as peers.

Kon describes his creative process, roughly translated, as “hoodlum emulation.” By which he means that there are two competing desires within him: the low-class hoodlum, who wants to force his visions upon the audience, and the sophisticated artist who respects his viewers’ intellects. He allows the hoodlum to run within the artist, under it’s control, so that when he forces too much, it can be shut down and brought back under the reins of subtlety and art. His conscious control over his creative impulse, operating within a sandbox, is well described by technological terms. The result is a film which caries a great amount of force and yet never bullies. The contrast I intend to draw to “Inception” in this regard should be clear. Nolan would do well to contain his inner hoodlum, which has pretensions to Al Capone.

When taken in comparison, the contest between “Paprika” and “Inception” can be decided simply by addressing the context of the films within the careers of the filmmakers. “Paprika” the film, is a loose adaptation of “Paprika,” the novel, by the celebrated avant-garde science fiction writer Yasutaka Tsutsui. Each work can now be seen as the climax of its creator’s career. Tsutsui published his novel as a serial in 1993 before announcing his retirement from writing (which he has since returned to), and now considers it his most entertaining work, and his best attempt at fusing meta-fiction and psychoanalysis. Kon’s film stands as his last completed film, though “Dream Machines,” which is still in production, is destined to be his capstone. “Paprika” is his magnum opus. Just as his masterpiece “Perfect Blue” (1998) established him as a respected animator, “Paprika” has become his most important work as an auteur. It is his final artistic statement, an implicit declaration of the meaning and purpose of filmmaking in his view. Christopher Nolan’s magnum opus, on the other hand, will likely remain “The Dark Knight (2008),” which is a genre defining, if somewhat inconsistent, film. Its flaws reflect Nolan’s, in that it becomes self-indulgent and pedantic in its third hour, but it makes up for these by harnessing—and serving—the collective energy of the millions of Batman fans who would see it. It’s as near perfect a realist superhero movie as has yet been made, and though it begs to be further refined it will always be respected as such. “Inception,” on the other hand, was Nolan’s victory lap. Like Peter Jackson, who squandered his credibility windfall on “King Kong (2005),” Nolan was essentially given $160 Million to make whatever film he wanted. The film he wanted to make was “Inception.” That itself says everything that needs to be said about him as a filmmaker. Theses could be written about the crucible directors face when rewarded for their commercial success by creative independence and why some succeed—Kubrick, Coppola, Raimi—and some—Cameron, Jackson, Nolan—fail? Kon Satoshi made Paprika on a budget of around $3 Million. That’s less than 2% what Warner Brothers jettisoned on “Inception.” For all that investment, what did they get but proof that Christopher Nolan’s level of taste is seriously questionable?

As I acknowledged earlier, it may be unfair to pit against each other two distinct films by very different filmmakers. And perhaps it is also unfair to criticize Nolan so harshly for failing to live up to the artistic standard set by someone else. Certainly one should never be in the position of having to choose between only ever seeing one movie and not another. And it’s true that “Paprika” is an occasionally uneven film, though still excellent. And it’s also true that “Inception” is superbly made, despite its lame script inability to adapt to its cast. When a great filmmaker passes, though, who will remember him? What is his legacy, and what is his estate? Kon Satoshi worked with a small but extremely talented crew, and inherited the resources of Japan’s most significant animation studio—besides maybe Ghibli. But his work has always been of limited popular interest. He and his crew had to work every day making excellent films for their own livelihood. Kon died with a prolific though short résumé of only 5 feature films and a television series. Each was better than the last. Nolan earns his criticism, because, frankly, he can afford it. Nolan is sold as the new model for the Hollywood auteur, the kind who earns his artistic license by grossing a billion dollars from a single film. He will have to suffer a much more miserable flop than “Inception” (which has been significantly profitable) for him to worry about his next job. Critics across the board lauded “Inception” as the “the kind of film Hollywood should be making.” By this they mean Hollywood should hand back creative control to directors, which any lover of cinema can probably agree. But not just any director should be able to make whatever they want, and not just because they’ve brought home the bank. Profitability is no surrogate for integrity. And any artist who lacks integrity, due either to delusion or to ignorance, gets exactly what they deserve from the haters.

Great pic I found on the internets.
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