Cinema & consciousness

In the science fiction anime film Paprika (2006) by Satoshi Kon, Paprika is Doctor Chiba’s alter-ego which she uses to treat her psychiatric patients by entering their dreams. They are polar opposites in personality. This alter-ego is a symbol of Chiba’s subconscious.

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“Have you ever thought you were a part of me, instead?”

When Paprika says that to Chiba, it is a sign of the subconscious mind expressing its repressed emotions and desires and gaining control over the rational self. and in the larger world of the film, of dreams and reality merging.

The world of dreams is portrayed as dangerous because it is a place of great instability and chaos. Nothing is certain, even the most rational and cool-headed of people are destabilised.

Who knows? Maybe we are all part of our subconscious – instead of the other way round – falsely thinking that our conscious minds are agents of free will. Sigmund Freud’s theories of psychoanalysis left a great impact on psychology.

The amazing thing is how film and cinema could be linked so closely to the study of the human mind – this connection fascinated me endlessly when I was learning about film theories in college.

Which is why films like Paprika were made. Or maybe even the Matrix series.

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