I Am a Cat


Comedy / Drama

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


Top cast

Yôko Shimada Photo
Yôko Shimada as Yukie
Tatsuya Nakadai Photo
Tatsuya Nakadai as Kushami
Jûzô Itami Photo
Jûzô Itami as Meitei
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1.04 GB
Japanese 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 55 min
P/S 2 / 23
1.92 GB
Japanese 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 55 min
P/S 13 / 27

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by freeds6 / 10

"Cat" disappoints

The adulatory review excerpts that accompanied the publicity for the showing of "I Am A Cat" in the Film Forum's summer 2008 retrospective of films starring Tatsuya Nakadai led me to expect a real treat, full of mordant wit and humor, when I saw it yesterday, July 2, 2008. This expectation was reinforced by an interview with Nakadai broadcast on WNYC-FM on June 24, 2008. In (a somewhat evasive) answer to a question about his favorites among his films, the great actor indicated that "I Am A Cat" belonged to that group. Speaking through an interpreter, he also mentioned that the film had not been a success in Japan because Japanese people did not appreciate ironic humor (then? in general?). Perhaps I missed most of the purported ironic humor as well because I found precious little of it in this film. Yes, there were some amusing moments but not enough to hold my interest. Reviewer "Dog Breath" tells us that the film was "never dull." Really? I found much of it boring (and, believe me, I don't require the incessant hacking off of limbs to keep my attention). The same reviewer also mentions "the film's tragic ending." Huh? The event near the end to which he refers was (humorously) sad but certainly not tragic in any meaningful sense of the word. "Sword of Doom" says that "the movie is good but only after you figure it out." I wonder how many hours (days?) were required to reach this conclusion.

Nakadai's character, Kushami, poses a dilemma for one who is not familiar with the Japanese literature. Kushami clearly embodies some of the attributes of Natsume Soseki, the Meiji Restoration-era novelist who also was a haiku poet, a writer of Chinese-style fairy tales and an expert on British literature. His 1905 novel "I Am A Cat" was a satirical look at Japanese society near the beginning of its career as imperialist power. Is the film's Kushami a faithful recreation of the (human) protagonist of Soseki's novel? If so, this version of the imaginative and productive Soseki takes self-deprecation to an extreme. Kushami is a lazybones and ditherer, who continually bemoans his position as middle-school teacher, who never seems to get anything done and who wastes a huge amount of time allowing himself to be distracted by uselessly chattering "friends," especially the intensely annoying Meitei (well-played by Juzo Itami). Any sensible person would have thrown this jerk out on his first visit. The cat of the title is cute and the source of some amusement but not the major character some of the publicity suggests. Among the film's few noteworthy moments: a policeman striking several unruly students (a foretaste of the militarized authoritarian society to come?); Kushami's accidental view of his very attractive niece in the nude and the apparent pleasure this gives him.

It is hard to imagine that the original novel was not wittier, more satirical and more entertaining than this film. As always, Nakadai and coworkers deliver some wonderful performances but a cinematic masterpiece this is not.

Barry Freed

Reviewed by Dog Breath8 / 10

Great Film, Deliberately Paced, but Never Dull

An Ichikawa film, which means that there is little plot, just vignettes for a short period of the protagonist's life.

The story revolves around an academic, of sorts. A man who is initially characterized as lazy, a man who starts many projects, but never follows them through. True, but as the film evolves, we are to learn why.

He's just never been able to achieve the goals he once set out for himself, blaming, more or less, circumstance and environment, when in fact most of the blame should lay with him.

The synopsis of this film was a bit misleading, stating that narration is done by Sampei's cat. Not true. The cat becomes a participant (unwilling and willing) in most of the story, but his narration only occurs at the film's tragic ending.

The film is dialogue heavy and most of the character participation rarely leaves Sempei's study. The characters leave and enter the scenes quickly, so figuring out who's who and who means what to whom can take a little while to figure out. Ichikawa leaves no quarter here.

But once you've got everyone figured out and the main thrust of the what's going on (which kind of revolves around the impending engagement of two minor characters),the film itself is rewarding. Again it deals with changing values, a common theme it seems in Japanese cinema.

Very good film. Very highly recommended.

Reviewed by AkuSokuZan8 / 10

Movie hits home...

For any of you out there who considers life to be purposeless/pointless and you feel totally helpless and ridiculous...this movie ought to put you back on track. The main character, a middle school teacher is lost, I mean really lost in thought---all the time and seems that even a household pet has a more interesting life...the cat. The movie is hard to describe but let me try--- it is about someone who will find the guts to try to accomplish something after a series of ridiculous and tragic event --- the color of the movie changes dramatically in the last scene because not only has the character awaken to his own life but the audience as well---the movie is that good but only after you figure it out!!!

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