Doors in Paprika

Doors in films can be seen as the metaphorical entry into “another world”, doors can move spectators toward an awareness of entry and transition, rather than the fixed state of witnessing a display. The lecture Cinema as Door reminded me of Paprika, an animation film which has lots of scenes with doors.


Paprika talks about a crime which started by DC mini, a therapeutic equipment for treating mental disease. DC mini works in dreams, it can connect a doctor’s dream to a patient’s dream, so the doctor can find out the crux of the patient. The whole story of Paprika happens in both real world and dreams, and door exists as a really important element in plots transformation and film editing.


Below are the collections of doors that I summarize from Paprika.


First is the continuous four scenes that appear four times in Paprika. Every time this series of scenes appear, the different pictorial tension shows the difference level of treatment of the cop character. Satoshi, the director, cleverly used doors to link those four scenes together. For example, he put Paprika and the cop in an elevator, when the elevator arrives at another floor, the elevator door opens, outside the door are different scenes, which are corresponding to the continuous scenes in the cop’s dream. Or in another plot, the room door in the train scene is set as the door leading to the corridor scene. Those doors are designed as the metaphorical entry into another plot of a dream, they connect plots together. And the door at the end of the corridor is seen as the crux of the cop.


Another example of doors linking one dream to another is when Paprika is trying to find out who the criminal is in a doctor’s dream. Those doors connect from Paprika’s dream to the doctor’s dream, and then to the criminal’s dream. The way how Satoshi design doors is really interesting, they could be anything, like the broken glass in street, TV screen, screen in the cinema, or even entrance of a cave. The doors also convey the idea that there is no boundary constraint among dreams.


Doors in Paprika also exist as channel links from the real world to dream world. In the beginning of the film, when Atsuko (Paprika in the real world) is trying to find out who the criminal is, she finds a door going to downstairs, which leads her to one of the criminals’ dream. And the website that the cop visits starting with a radio club door, when he clicks on ‘Enter’, he’s already on his way to his dream world. Every time he follows Paprika to exit the radio club door is when he really enters his dream world. The radio club door is a point of entry of dream world, it also represents the beginning of the story.


Doors exist as thresholds between real world and dream world, and also the thresholds between dreams in Paprika. Usually, cinema screen is conceived as a doorway to film world, but in Paprika, the cinema screen is interestingly set as a literal doorway to another space. Doors in Paprika are different from the doors that were introduced in lecture, which I think is really funny to dig deeper into.



Paprika (2006) Directed by Satoshi Kon [Film]. Japan: Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan.


‘Paprika’ (2006) Wikipedia. Available at: (Accessed: 30 January 2017).


Zhihu (2017) Available at: (Accessed: 30 January 2017).


Visual Reference:

Paprika (2006) Directed by Satoshi Kon [Film]. Japan: Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan.


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