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75' 2010
dir.: Kazuhiro Soda

How is peace at all possible? Using the example of people and... cats.

No other medium reflects so well contemporary culture's total absorption in themes of conflict, crisis and dysfunction as socially engaged documentary film. This is so to the extent that a documentary exposing social harmony makes for seemingly avant-garde cinema. It takes an artist of Kazuhiro Soda’s ilk to take on such a challenge and turn an order for a short film about peaceful coexistence into a feature-length documentary, providing an original attempt to answer the question how peace is at all possible. Soda's film balances on the line between cinéma vérité and visual essay; it is a subtle tale of people and cats. There are three human protagonists. Toshio Kashiwagi ferries the elderly and disabled residents of Okayama who cannot afford a taxi. He also feeds homeless cats to the chagrin of his wife, Hiroki, who runs a charity that sends caregivers to the ill and elderly. Toshio and Hiroki are trying to help the cheerful 91-year-old Shiro Hashimoto, stricken with terminal lung cancer, who smokes "Peace" brand cigarettes and shares his recollections of World War II. Meanwhile, the community of cats fed by Toshio is unsettled by a thieving interloper. However, even a foreign invasion and looming death dissipate here in the compassionate, simple and peaceful coexistence.

Maciej Nowicki

Hong Kong IFF 2011 - Best Documentary
Visions du Réel 2011 - Buyens-Chagoll Prize
Tokyo FIILMeX 2010 - Audience Award
75' 2010 Japan, USA, South Korea
Kazuhiro Soda
Kazuhiro Soda
Kazuhiro Soda
Laboratory X