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 »
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 »
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 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.
Ichiko lived in a big city, but goes back to her small hometown Komori, located on a mountain in the Tohoku region. She is self-sufficient. Ichiko gains energy living among nature and eating foods she makes from seasonal ingredients.
A couple decide to relocate from Tokyo to the northern island of Hokkaido where they settle and establish a bakery and café called Mani. One cooks. The other bakes. Everyone walks out happy... See full summary »
Ichiko (Ai Hashimoto) lived in a big city, but goes back to her small hometown Komori, located on a mountain in the Tohoku region. She is self-sufficient. Ichiko gains energy living among ... See full summary »
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 »
The Third Master (Erh Tung Sheng, aka Derek Yee, in the role that launched his career) is considered to be the greatest sword master of the day. His displays of skill and strength bring ... 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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