Review: Rentaneko (2012)

Mountain Monkey June 6, 2013 Reviews 4 Comments on Review: Rentaneko (2012)

Review by: Mountain Monkey
SCUM Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Sayoko (Mikako Ichikawa) peddling her wares

Sayoko (Mikako Ichikawa) peddling her wares

The word ‘quirky’ inevitably comes to mind when describing director Naoko Ogigami’s latest release, Rentaneko. Translated as ‘rent-a-cat’, the movie deals with just that, a cat rental service run by a cat-loving lady, Sayoko (Mikako Ichikawa). Ichikawa appeared in Ogigami’s sublime Megane (2007), and this time she takes on the leading role to excellent effect.

Seemingly financially-independent, with no real need to earn cash from her rental service, Sayoko carts her feline friends along the shoreline of an anonymous Japanese town, loudhailer in hand. She does this in the belief that renting cats will ‘fill up the holes in people’s hearts’. Business is slow but she meets several clients who each have their own reasons for renting a cat.

Sayoko extolling the virtues of cat care to a client

Sayoko extolling the virtues of cat care to a client

These clients are all strung together though by a common trait — loneliness — whether it’s from old age, a missing partner or just failure to make a dent in life. The real surprise though is the cat lady herself, who despite her robust spirit and social enterprise, seems to be the loneliest character of all.

As the lead, Ichikawa holds the movie together well with her understated and humorous performance (aided by a troop of adorable felines).

The slow, calming feeling from director Ogigami’s earlier films (Megane and Kamome Diner) permeates Rentaneko, and is a perfect antidote to the crazy rush of modern life. Looking forward to more movies from this talented director.

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About The Author

Mountain Monkey's cozy childhood afternoons with Thunderbirds were forever shattered by a creepy matinee, 'The Creature from the Black Lagoon'. Things were never quite the same for Mountain Monkey, who developed a fascination for the esoteric side of cinema from a worryingly young age. These days, Mountain Monkey would rather be catching up with some shut eye and the latest Criterion Collection release, but the SCUM mission has come calling. Ohm...


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