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If Cats Disappeared from the World ("Sekai kara neko ga kietanara")

Canadian Premiere
  • Japan
  • 2016
  • 103 mins
  • HD
  • Japanese
  • English (subtitles)
Official Selection: New York Asian Film Festival 2016

In a charming corner of the Japanese countryside, an apathetic, 30-year-old mailman lives alone with his cat. His tranquility is drastically shattered when his doctor gives him a devastating diagnosis. He has a brain tumour, and only days to live. In his desperation, he gets a visit from the Devil, disguised as the mailman’s own double. The Devil proposes a pact: he will extend the mailman’s life by a day if he accepts that one thing the Devil selects, and all human feelings and memories attached to that thing, vanishes forevermore. And, the exercise shall be repeated daily. The bargain is struck, and the first thing to disappear is telephones. The second day, it is cinema that is eliminated. And so on. The mailman, however, realizes that the things that his malicious doppelganger announces each day are tightly associated with people dear to him, including his ex-girlfriend, his best friend, and his departed mother. And what if the Devil should select something that the mailman values more than life?

Make no mistake, IF CATS DISAPPEARED FROM THE WORLD is among the finest jewels on the Fantasia 2016 selection, and a prize dear to the programming team’s heart. Adapted from the bestseller by Genki Kawamura, also a prestigious producer (WOLF CHILDREN, PARASYTE), this little marvel comes care of director Akira Nagai, widely recognized for his stellar work in advertising. With an excellent cast that includes Takeru Sato (RUROUNI KENSHIN) — playing two diametrically opposed roles — as well as Aoi Miyazaki (THE GREAT PASSAGE) and the inimitable Gaku Hamada (ROBO-G), Nagai delivers a superior dramatic fable, with breathtaking visual flair to accent the emotional tug of a Faustian tale full of both sadness and light. Grab a box of kleenex and settle in for a story that will move even the most cynical — and will likely lead a few to adopt a cat of their own.

— Nicolas Archambault

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