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2006, Sony Pictures Classics, 90 min, Japan, Dir: Satoshi Kon

The final film from animator Satoshi Kon offers a mash-up of fantasy and waking life that would be echoed in Christopher Nolan’s INCEPTION a few years later. In the near future, an experimental device called the DC Mini allows people to view others’ dreams. A promising tool for psychotherapy, Dr. Chiba uses it on her patients, adopting the alter-ego “Paprika” to enter their nocturnal reveries. But when the DC Mini is stolen by those who would abuse its power, dream worlds begin to impinge on reality, and only Paprika can bring an end to the chaos. Named one of the 25 All-Time Best Animated Films by Time magazine, PAPRIKA’s hallucinatory logic and dazzling visuals are mesmerizing. In Japanese with English subtitles.

2012, Nippon Televsion, 117 min, Japan, Dir: Mamoru Hosoda

Hana notices a mysterious older man auditing one of her classes, and before long, the two begin dating. When she falls in love with him, he confesses that he is a descendant of an ancient tribe of wolfmen, who have the ability to alternate between human and wolf form. Hana does not bat an eye, and the two begin a lengthy romance that produces daughter Yuki and son Ame, who also exhibit furry tendencies. A tragedy leaves Hana alone to care, as best she can, for her two kids who behave more like pets than people. As young Yuki and Ame grow older, they must grapple with what they want to be: civilized human beings or the wild animals within. WOLF CHILDREN is the latest film from Hosoda (GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME, SUMMER WARS), a protégé of the historic Toei Animation and the Hayao Miyazaki-led Studio Ghibli; many are calling him Japan’s next great animation master. But while WOLF CHILDREN exhibits amazing attention to detail and movement in its animation, it is no mere imitation of previous masters, as it displays a wry sense of humor, a mature view of romance and a deeply moving portrayal of siblings who transform - literally and figuratively - before our very eyes. In Japanese with English subtitles. Recommended ages: 9 and up.

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