Tamala 2010:
A Punk Cat in Space

Dir: The toL collective
Star: Mochizuki Hisayo, Shinji Takeda, Takeshi Kato, Béatrice Dalle

"Cats live in loneliness, then die like falling rain." And if you understand that without pausing for thought, then you might have a chance with Tamala, which is the most dense, obscure, incomprehensible piece of animation I've ever seen. I was sorely tempted to write a four-character review - "WTF?" - and scurried to the Internet to find out if anyone (anyone?) could explain to me what I'd just seen. I'm part-pleased, part-sorry to report that no-one else seems to have a clue either. So, if the next paragraph makes no sense...it's not you, or me; we are dealing here with something that may be beyond unmedicated comprehension. With that in mind:

Tamala is a foul-mouthed, huge-eyed cat who lives on a planet where almost everything is run by the Catty + Co corporation. While seeking her 'real' mother, she is forced to land on Planet Q, co-habited uneasily by dogs and cats, and latches onto Michelangelo, a feline who'd rather watch Eastwood films than mate. Elsewhere, a dog cop sadistically tortures and photographs a mouse resembling our heroine, while Tamala dreams of a figure ascending an escalator (voiced by Beatrice Dalle) and huge cityscapes. Then the dog eats her. But she isn't dead, since she is the incarnation of the goddess Minerva, fated to an endless cycle of death and rebirth. Minerva's cult went underground centuries ago, and is now resurfacing in the form of Catty + Co.

Believe me, it's way less linear than it sounds, and the intent is almost impossible to discern, beyond stabs of global corporate culture (a giant Col. Sanders wanders through the city with an axe in his head). There are a couple of badly-handled lumps of exposition, which are about as effective as The Architect lecturing Neo at the end of The Matrix Reloaded. The style is a mix of intensely detailed CGI, what looks like Flash animation, and bits of Astroboy and Fritz the Cat; some of it works, some of it doesn't. Possibly the best way to describe Tamala is as the worst film I've been unable to stop watching. Cute end song though.

June 2004

Hello, Kitty!
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