Take Care of My Cat
"The movie itself works extremely well. The five girls are all very realistically portrayed, all trying to find their place in a world that is different than they had hoped it would be."
Take Care of My Cat (2001)
AKA: Take Care of My Cat !
Director: Jeong Jae Eun
Producer: Oh Gi Min
Cast: Bae Doo-Na, Lee Yo Won, Ok Ji Young, Lee Eun Shil, Lee Eun Joo, Oh Tae Kyung
Running Time: 112 min.
Plot: The story of 3 girlfriends who have just graduated from high school in Korea. Now that they've entered the "adult" world, they must begin to find their own way in life, and must restructure almost everything, including their relationships with each other.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
MLINDBER'S REVIEW: What a wonderful film. Take Care of My Cat has been something I've been eyeing for a long time, and I finally bought the DVD of it. I thought it was an excellent film, and was very well made.
The film is directed by newcomer JEONG Jae-eun. The movie stars BAE Doo-na (the Ring Virus) as Tae-hee, LEE Yo-won (Attack the Gas Station) as Hae-joo, newcomer OK Ji-young as Ji-young, and twins LEE Eun-sil and LEE Eun-ju (Asako in Ruby Shoes) as Bi-ryu and Ohn-jo. All five of the girls are relative newcomers, but they all played their parts with great confidence. I was especially impressed with BAE Doo-na and OK Ji-young. Their characters' relationship, seemingly formed out of necessity and circumstance, grew stronger through shared thoughts and misfortune.
In the film, Ji-young discovers a stray cat and soon takes it into her care. At Hae-joo's birthday party, Ji-young gives the cat to her as a gift. Not even a week after, Hae-joo, a busy corporate girl who is doing the best to survive in a less than satisfactory position, gives the cat back to Ji-young. Throughout the course of the film, the cat eventually makes her way through the hands of all five characters; each giving her up when changes in their lives force them to do so. The cat is used not to move the plot forward, but to externalize the movement of struggle in the lives of the girls. The girls left with the cat in the very end, the twins Bi-ryu and Ohn-jo, are the only ones whose lives require changes that are already present in their lives. Their ending up with the cat symbolizes their confidence with their position in the world. To the others, the cat remains a part of the world that they are leaving behind.
The movie itself works extremely well. The five girls are all very realistically portrayed, all trying to find their place in a world that is different than they had hoped it would be. Both Tae-hee and Ji-young live in less than satisfactory conditions, and the viewer observes these two trying to make the best of what they have. Nothing is dwelled on forever in this film. Director JEONG Jae-eun instead uses simple observation of events in the present lives of the two to frame the characters' past existence and give them a reason to leave their lives and move into the world. Sometimes this can be through tragedy, or sometimes by choice, but the justification to pack up and leave is always given.
I especially liked the music, done by M&F. It was almost German sounding, and fit the mood of the film perfectly. Although most of the music was diegetic (or coming from a source on screen, like a radio), the non-diegetic M&F music was used during turning points in the character's lives, or to frame their existence in the world.
Some may consider Take Care of My Cat a chick flick, and with no less than five main female stars and a very confident female director, this could easily have turned into another Sex in the City, focusing on nothing but men and sex. It doesn't, however, and instead loses itself in the complexities of everyday life, and the struggle between one's dreams and the reality one must face on a daily basis. The films ending, while abrupt and a little too open, shows that one must take chances in life instead of remaining where one has been told is the right place to be.
Overall, this is a great film. It may not be a film for everybody, but I found it to be very beautiful to watch. The directing is superb, with great framing and pacing. The acting is also very good, and seemed very natural. I highly recommend it. It also looks like it will be getting a US theatrical release as well, so be sure to check it out. The Korean DVD set is also worth it, and includes two short films by the director.
MLINDBER'S RATING: 10/10