If Cats Disappeared From the World / 世界から猫が消えたなら / Sekai kara Neko ga Kieta nara (2016)
Director: Akira Nagai
Screenplay: Yoshikazu Okada
Cast: Takeru Sato, Aoi Miyazaki, Gaku Hamada, Eiji Okuda, Eita Okuno
The title pretty much describes what happens at one point in the movie but there are other things that are removed from the world before cats starting with phones and then movies. The setup for this is purely fantasy. A 30 something year old mailman who lives alone is told by his doctor that he will die very soon. After hearing this diagnosis he returns home where he is confronted by his evil double who proposes giving him another day to live in exchange for removing something from the world. But it’s the evil double who gets to choose what to remove.
This is a tearjerker but it’s not too manipulative. It’s a heartfelt what-if scenario that shows the importance of seemingly unimportant items and how they connect people. The story is a series of vignettes into the mailman’s past involving his ex-girlfriend, best friend and mother. Each has a link to an item that his evil double removes from the world. Eventually the mailman discovers the nature of his evil double. The vignettes show pretty mundane scenarios although it does include a nice visit to the Iguazu Falls. The events are easy to relate to and the acting makes it believable and emotional. The characters themselves are nothing interesting. They feel more like blank slates that allow the audience to imagine themselves in a character’s place and experiencing the same situations.
Cinematography and sound are solid. Nothing that I really noticed that I could mention specifically good or bad. I do really like the theme song (by artist Haruri) of this movie and I sat through the credits to listen to it in full. This isn’t a must-watch by any means but if you like the premise and are looking for a good cry then this movie will likely do the job. The screening for this movie actually sold out, which was a bit of a surprise to me.
This film was watched on a screener at the Fantasia Film Festival.
Update: Here’s a link to a music video of the theme song.