Sponsored by Marin Hotels
Presented by Animal Sanctuary and Care Society and Center for Asian American Media
Directed by Naoko Ogigami
Starring: Mikako Ichikawa, Reiko Kusamura, Ken Mitsuishi, Maho Yamada, Kei Tanaka, Katsuya Kobayashi
Naoko Ogigami’s funny, oddball paean to the lovesick embraces Japanese kawaii (cute) culture without sacrificing emotional depth as it follows the day-to-day travails of a quirky young woman named Sayoko (Mikako Ichikawa), who rents out her large brood of felines to the similarly solitary and heartbroken. Sayoko, explaining that cats have been inexplicably drawn to her since she was a child, takes pains to match each of her beloved felines with the right client (an aging widow, an officious car rental agent, a genuflecting businessman) in order to fill the specific emotional holes in their lives. As Sayoko, the charmingly goofy Ichikawa possesses a winning combination of spunk and vulnerability—something true of Ogigami’s film itself, which lampoons Japanese conformity and class-consciousness through the eyes of a consummate fringe-dwelling slacker. Bittersweet and tender rather than simply twee, Rent-a-Cat is a touching, ramshackle delight that will leave you feeling the satisfying warmth of a good cuddle session with a furry friend.
Film Note Writer: Michelle Devereaux