She And Her Cat - Shinkai Makoto
She and her Cat, by Shinkai Makoto, is a gorgeous 5 minute anime short. It is more like an anime poem than a full story.
Cats have a very basic form of color vision, and in fact it was believed for the longest time that they only saw in black and white. It's no surprise then that this story, told from the cat's point of view, is done all in black and white.
It's very easy to fall into the lyricism of the cat's monologue. He is, after all, a cat. His world is one of sensuous nature, of snuggly love and of long naps in sunny spots. To him the single female he lives with is his mother and his lover.
The cat in fact does have a "cat" girlfriend, but he dismisses this girlfriend as far too young for him. He tells his female cat that she has to grow up and be more mature before he'll really think about her.
There's a poignant moment when the cat's owner gets a long phone call, and she breaks down crying for hours. However, apparently the cat can't understand human language - all he knows is that she's sad. A moment later, the short is over, with not much at all resolved.
It's a movie that does a great job of setting the tone of its characters. The cat is very loving towards his owner, and lives the leisurely life of a cat. The owner is alone, works hard, and has some personal tragedy. It makes you wonder - what went wrong in her life? Why is she alone with her cat? Will the cat ever realize that inter-species love has to stay platonic?
The graphics, as mentioned, are deliberately sparse but also quite lovely. There are very attractive details in the woman's animation, in the outside world, and even in aspects of the apartment. Interestingly, only the cat himself is a simple design, almost cartooney in comparison. It's as if the cat rarely thinks about himself - he is always investigating the world around him.
Highly recommended viewing.
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