Thursday, July 13, 2006

Defective Dream Detectives

Two upcoming Japanese films have plots that are, just a little, like Gilliam's still unrealised Defective Detective, or perhaps, more so, that TV show Sleepwalkers with a pre-Mulholland Drive Naomi Watts.

There's Shinya Tsukamoto's Nightmare Detective and Satoshi Kon's Paprika. The shared plotting relates to investigations, principally murder investigations, that are carried out by entering people's dreams, presumably to look for evidence or track suspects. While Nightmare Detective is live action, Paprika is anime, like all of Kon's work to date, which probably allows for a better dream-effect to yen ratio.

If you visit the newly opened Paprika website you'll find nothing much at all, but bookmark it, and come back soon, because the film is due for release as soon as this autumn. I can tell you that it is adapted from a novel, like Perfect Blue was before it, and that Kon's expressed desire is to make another study of objectivity versus subjectivity. Home ground, then, and I'd expect this film to be one of the year's best.

There's a bit more at the Nightmare Detective website, including the following synopsis:

A competent detective, Keiko Kirishima, encounters two mysterious suicides. Somehow the two incidents seem to be connected since the victims dialled the same number 0 with their cellphones just before their death. Then one of the victim's wife who was sleeping next to him, testifies that it looked like someone was attacking him in the dream. Keiko and her colleagues visit the reference room, looking for a clue to solve the mystery of the two suicides. There, they found information about a man, so-called 'Nightmare Detective', who can enter one's dream. Keiko asks him to cooperate with their sting operation but is bluntly refused. The murder's riddle is still unrevealed and later on we even found out that he holds the same power to slipping into people's dreams. Though a direful ending is already expected, knowing there is no other way out, Keiko approaches the truth and decides to dial the deadly 0 by herself....

Interestingly, while Gilliam's dream voyager is a man, all of the other examples centre on a woman entering the dreams. I don't believe this is an accident.

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