Written by: Acel Manalo
Imagine a world without phones to fidget with, without films to watch, clocks to look at, and cats to keep you company. Yes, even cats! Can you imagine it?
If Cats Disappeared from the World is a 2016 Japanese film starring Takeru Satoh (The Liar and His Lover, Rurouni Kenshin, Koi wa Tsuzuku yo Doko Made mo/Love Last Forever) and Aoi Miyazaki (Atsuhime, Kurara: Hokusai no Musume, Brother and Sister).
An unnamed postman diagnosed with a terminal illness, Satoh struggles with the thought of what is he willing to lose in order to gain another day to live in this world and of who’s going to miss him when he’s already gone.
Upon figuring out what the Postman is willing to lose to have more time to live and do the things he wishes to do and making the devil actually erase it from this world as if it has never existed at all, a series of realization – of understanding for the pains and beauties of his life and relationships with his parents, best friend, and ex-girlfriend – has come.
What makes it more frustrating is that of how he’s actually no control over the bargain of what is going to be erased permanently in exchange of another 24 hours to live. How can one actually decide on what makes and what doesn’t make his/her life worth living at the expense of others?
With that in mind, let’s talk about how the locations used in this film! The cast and crew filmed in Hokkaido, Japan and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Each location scouted helped a lot in bringing out the socially awkward character of Satoh and his relationships with the people around him. Moreover, the lighting and colors popping out from these two places, not to mention the beauty itself as well as the business and calmness of its day to day, added a lot of atmosphere and depth in the overall quality and message of the film.
Further, Satoh has played not only played the protagonist in this film – he also played as its antagonist.
Talk about being a versatile and commendable actor, right? There’s just something about his facial expression (or the lack thereof) which makes his portrayal of being both the protagonist and antagonist of the film emotional and thought provoking at the same time.
It’s like when he smiles, the whole place and scene actually lights up (and so are you). Then when he cries? I don’t even want to think about it as things might get so physically and mentally draining. When you get to the scenes of him playing with, taking care of, or hugging the cats, there’s a high possibility that you’d rather be a cat than be a human – that’s how good and precious is he, in reel and real life.
On the brighter side, no cats were harmed in this film! Thankfully, our feline friends disappearing from the world won’t be happening anytime as far as the film (and the novel of the same title it was based from) shows. What’s more heartwarming about this film is of how it inadvertently promoted the practice of “adopt, don’t shop” for our furry friends.
Also, there’s nothing too sentimental or overbearing about the musical scoring of this film but then the song played at the last few scenes ending up to its credits, Hizumi by HARUHI, will make you reflect fondly on what you’ve just watched and can actually stay inside you as an earworm.
You may listen it here:
To end, If Cats Disappeared from the World reminds its viewer two things: appreciate the little things in life while at the same time, learn to let go. First, appreciate the little to the littlest things in life – existing or not existing anymore.
Find value and meaning in those things, those memories, and of the people around you as one way or another, it will help you feel comfortable and not alone in the trying times life will throw at you.
Lastly, learn to let go – know when to let go as there is actually no exact right way to do so. People come and go, inevitable things are bound to happen one way or another – sooner or later.
Keep in mind that something or some people you keep on trying to hold on to for dear life might actually be holding you back to experience your life at its fullest, at its happiest.
Watch the trailer below: