post-ironic quotation marks

Slightly neurotic (but cute!) singleton looking for adventure, finical stability, and some delusion of meaning. With much thought in the topic of sincerity and the occasional film review.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

My attempt at structuralist commentary. SPOILERS for Paprika


I recently saw Paprika. One thing that I really liked about it was how the plot line went against my expectations of the structure of the film. Normally movies end up pairing of the two most attractive people together. It doesn't have to make sense, but that's what happens. In Paprika, Chiba Atsuko a lovely scientists works with an equally handsome scientist, Osanai Morio, who confesses that he's jealous of the attention she gives to Tokita Kohsaku, a child in a giant genius body. Osanai harbors a crush on Atsuko, but since she's portrayed as an ice queen, it's hard to tell if she likes him back. During the first third of the film, I spent time thinking how lovely they looked as a couple, and then when he saves her from jumping off a balcony, I found myself thinking how that solves it. Atsuko is going to realize that Osanai is a pretty good catch and worthy of her love.

Except that he isn't (hey! I said spoiler). Instead, he's helping out the chairman of the board who wants to put a stop to the dream project to protect the sanctity of dreams by becoming dream terrorists themselves (or so the chairman claims). That there's the suggestion that he's being used by the chairman (or would be used) has little to do with it. I found myself feeling cheated that I was not getting the outcome I expected, and I found myself feeling bothered that I still wanted Osanai and Atsuko to end up together. Considering everything that's pretty bothered, but does deal with another classic trope -- redemption.

But why did I even feel that it was necessary to invent a relationship between two characters based on level of attractiveness in the first place? Because every other movie I've ever seen ends up that way. Even the ones that aren't romantic comedies or romances are also about the most handsome boy -- or even the not most handsome, but most sensitive, or most something boy -- getting the girl. Or else it's about him not getting the girl.

It's all about training. Stories, and movies are all about set up. If there's a gun in the first act, it needs to be fired before the end of the show. I've been taught to expect certain things in stories, but those expectations are on false assumptions.

For instance, that they guy is the main point in the movie. Paprika is about a therapist sprite, not about a hunky scientist. It's about the expectations of reality and the blending of dreams with that reality.

In the end, Paprika is not a movie about romantic relationships but relationships between people. That can be between men and woman, or old friends, or even realizing that the person you love is not the person you're suppose to.

Paprika laughs at what you expect movies to be about. And that's a good thing.

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home