Where are we welcome? On a quiet street in Helsinki, Sachie has opened a diner featuring rice balls. For a month she has no customers. Then, in short order, she has her first customer, ... See full summary »
Ray is a 30 something engineer obsessed with Gundam toys. He has a motto not to become close to anyone. During his mother's funeral he showed no emotions. His life is further turned upside ... See full summary »
In "A Gentle Breeze in the Village," Soyo Migata (Kaho) is a quirky 8th grade student who resides in a tiny rural village somewhere in Japan. The village is small enough where there's only ... See full summary »
In a small town on the countryside, every young boy is forced to have the same bowl-head haircut known as the "Yoshino-gari" hairstyle. Then one day, a drastic change occurs when a transfer student with bleached hair comes from Tokyo.
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After failing his university entrance examinations and being left by his girlfriend, Yuki Hirano decides to join a forestry training program only to discover that the job is much harder ... See full summary »
Masterless Samurai Kyutaro Madarame is hired by a dog-loving gang to get rid of their rival gang's beloved pet, an adorable white cat. Upon raising his sword, however, he cannot bring ... See full summary »
One spring Hiromi, who is the mother of an 11-year-old girl Tomo, left home for the umpteenth time. Tomo is accustomed to such a mother and as always went to Makio's place. He is a brother ... See full summary »
Naoko Ogigami used to be one of my favorite directors. Her films had a unique mix of quirkiness combined with reminiscent slow-motion, as a blend of humor emerging from deliberately simplistic mimics recalling Kaurismäki. Yet as in her last English-language feature 'Toilet', 'Rentacat' fails to recreate the atmosphere of her earlier masterpieces 'Glasses', 'Kamome Diner' and 'Barber Yoshino' because it's lacking two key ingredients of their recipe: the actresses Satomi Kobayashi and Masako Motai, who inter-played brilliantly in her earlier films. Masako Motai appears to be Ogigami's 'muse': in 'Toilet', her brief, non-verbal scenes were about the only enjoyable aspect of an otherwise unconvincing family dramedy. Here, she's missing altogether for the first time, and Mikako Ichikawa's character never arrives at making any similar impression of genuine eccentricity. Instead, she plays the lonely girl Sayoko, whose scent attracts an ever-increasing number of cats, but repels people, in a straight-faced fashion, ignoring the ironic possibilities of such a character. As a result, 'Rentacat' comes across as an unconvincing character study, with a few comedy elements such as a cross-dressing, mean-spirited neighbor and a repetition of the story's cycle, which to this viewer is rather annoying than entertaining. Let's hope Ogigami revives her collaboration with Motai and Kobayashi in her next feature, as she apparently cannot do without them.
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