Movie review: The Cat Funeral

Hi, all!

I promised to post my favorite runway picks last week, but work suddenly got hectic and I couldn’t post. Sorry 😦 I’m now back, not with my runway picks (I have to re-arrange my favorites) but with a movie review.

The Cat Funeral (고양이 장례식)

Year: 2015

Running time: 107 minutes

Main cast: Kang In, Park Se-Young

How did I find this movie? I was randomly browsing the cast of a few K-dramas I’d been following and stumbled upon Park Se-Young’s profile. I saw “The Cat Funeral” in her filmography list, and the title intrigued me. I decided to search for it and got the movie.

It’s the story of a former couple who reunite for their cat’s funeral. The cat, Gureum, is the axis of the whole story. She was adopted by the couple back when they lived together. Kang In plays Dong Hoon, an indie musician, while Park Se-Young plays Jae Hee, an illustrator/graphic designer.

The couple wanted to bury Gureum’s ashes somewhere far, a place they both visited when they were still in a relationship, so they took a trip together. It was full of “are you still into me?” “didn’t you dump me?”, so it was humorous yet sad at the same time.

The film goes back and forth, between the past and the present. As viewers, we were guided through their story: how they first met, how they got into a relationship, how the relationship started to fall part, and how, in the end, the relationship ended. We also see how their reunion was awkward and that both were uncomfortable, yet comfortable, with each other’s presence.

Dong Hoon & Jae Hee's first meeting after a year apart.
Dong Hoon & Jae Hee’s first meeting after a year apart.
Gureum, on which the plot is centered.
Gureum, on which the plot is centered.

The movie takes the viewers on a ride through a relationship. We all are guided through what started as a loving relationship, and how things eventually didn’t work out for the couple. It’s a movie featuring a perspective on why relationships don’t work, on why relationships end.

And, in the center of this, was Gureum, a lovely cat who bonded Dong Hoon and Jae Hee together. Both of them bonded over caring for stray cats, so it was normal that they would take in a stray cat when one found its way to their house.

Gureum's ashes and her personal belongings. This scene made me cry a river.
Gureum’s ashes and her personal belongings. This scene made me cry a river.

The film used minimal music to convey the emotions. When music played, however, it featured acoustic guitar strings conveying a sense of happiness and sadness. The songs were all bittersweet. The tone and rhythm sounded happy, yet it sent a sad feeling.

In a way, the film might seem like it lacks emotion, but I somehow sensed strong emotions. The emotionless states the couple showed to each other looked like an obvious defense. It was a “You think I wouldn’t survive with you?”-type of thing. An obvious contrast to the scenes featuring the couple when they were still in a relationship.

This powerful scene showed the phase where the little family was at their utmost loving.
This powerful scene showed the phase where the little family was at their utmost loving.
Them parting hit the heart quite hard
Them parting hit the heart quite hard.

One thing I realized was that all this happened in autumn. Autumn is the season of transition, the season of change. They ended their relationship in autumn and went on with their lives. A year later, they meet again to bury their cat. Does autumn represent the change they’re experiencing in their lives?

Overall, this was a beautiful movie. I would imagine that some people would consider it as blunt, but I like blunt movies. They convey the strongest emotions/feelings that are more relatable to real life. In today’s language, they send you the feels.

I wouldn’t recommend it if you search for happy endings. This isn’t the cheesy lovey-dovey love story about falling back in love. Rather, it is discovering why you fell out of love with someone. And since it’s a film about searching and discovering, when you reach the conclusion, it wouldn’t be a grand one. It would be some kind of “Oh.. yeah.. that’s true”. It gives you the feeling of wanting to cry but you aren’t sad enough to cry but you aren’t happy enough to be happy.

Loves!

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