The Cat (film)
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|The Cat |
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Danel Frosch|
|Produced by||Elias Henrikkson|
|Written by||Torri Lindt|
|Screenplay by||Karl Visby|
|Based on||The Cat by Torri Lindt|
|Starring||Filli (as The Cat) |
Hans Visby (as the voice of The Cat)
|Music by||Xander Halland|
|Edited by||Danel Frosch |
|Distributed by||Lugna Ltd.|
|Box office||€93 million|
The Cat, (Geatish: Kattern) is a 2021 Eldmarsk adventure film directed by Danel Frosch, and based on the book of the same name written in 1973 by Torri Lindt, who led the writing team on the movie. Starring a socialized Sand Cat named Filli, (voice acted and motion captured by Hans Visby), Anton Akesson, Torri Lindt, Ahyoka Inola, and others, the film is set in the wilds of the St. Jan's Plateau region of Eldmark during the turn of the century in 1900. The film follows The Cat as he is taken in as a stray by a native Odavli family, where he befriends the family's last surviving child, a young girl, and helps the family escape the clutches of the Gospelists who intend, through several acts of abuse, on forcing them to renounce their native names and the last remnants of their culture. The film was included in the official selection at the 82nd Montecara Film Festival and was one of two films to be awarded a Special Jury Prize.
The film has been considered by many to be both a work of historical fiction and docufiction, detailing the abuses portrayed by the Gospelist ministers often running reservations in the interior of Eldmark at around the time. However, it tries to remain a family-friendly film, though at many points it cannot avoid that, giving it a rating of +14. It has also been lauded for being an prime example of good CGI, with real life sand cat Filli used as a reference, even though 90% of The Cat was CGI, rendered in post-production by Petr Drake and Lugna Ltd's CGI department, Vattenverk. Despite several scenes where The Cat is in danger, no harm came to Filli at any time. During the film, we often hear the internal thoughts of The Cat, though his character does not speak, nor is understood by humans. Instead, The Cat communicates via nonverbal cues and different tones of meowing, hissing, and chuffing, of which came from Filli himself.
The film opens with a P&K passenger train entering the boom town of Korskulle, upon which The Cat was hitching a ride, posing as a "train cat," or a cat often put aboard trains to deter rodents. Upon discovery by a conductor, who attempted to attack the cat with an oar, a chase ensues, damaging cargo as the duo race up and down the train cars. Eventually, in a crowded diner car, the Cat is caught, only for passengers to demand he be let go. The Conductor begrudgingly complies, and the Cat escapes to an alleyway.
As day turns to night in Korskulle, The Cat finds the Conductor yet again, this time jobless and inebriated. The Conductor, initially hostile to the cat, instead breaks down and cries, lamenting his dead-end job "ferrying people to their deaths," before slipping out of consciousness. Curious, The Cat checks the Conductor's pockets to find a shipping manifest, in which 90 humans were scheduled to ship from cattle cars, labeled as "KONTRABANDEN." The Cat does not understand this and continues to the depot, where another train is waiting. The Cat decides to check the cattle cars to see if humans were in them, having to brave a number of obstacles, posing danger to the cat's small stature, as well as eluding guards and a particularly mean looking bulldog.
The Cat, after slipping through a knot hole in the car door, emerge to find a grisly scene, with the traincar full of starving and dehydrated Odavli prisoners, all in fetters. Shocked by this, he attempts to leave, only for the train to jerk into motion again, knocking him off his paws and knocking him unconscious. Hours later he wakes up in the arms of Tila, an Odavli girl, who had been tending to him. Surprised, The Cat jumps out of her hands and hisses, and attempts to flee again, only to find the train moving too fast to escape. After resigning to his fate, the cat sits and mopes, which prompts Tila trying to pet him. Eventually, after several attempts, he relents and allows her to pet him. The train rides on for the rest of the day, night, and into the next day, where the Cat can't help but to find the tired songs sung by the Odavli to be "strange, but beautiful. Like coyote howls."
After traveling for over 24 hours, the train stops at Läger Halsing, giving the cat enough time to escape into the desert bushland, but not before taking in his surroundings. Tents put up for miles surrounding a pitiful gorge and an equally pitiful creek, surrounded by short stone walls and guards, Halsing proved imposing and confusing all the same to the cat, who couldn't imagine wanting to live there. For a time, the focus shifts to Tila and her family, which consists of her mother, her father, and her grandfather, who is blind and relies on Tila for support and sight. Her grandfather cannot speak Geatish, so Tila has to use Odavli to communicate with him. This enrages guards and the Gospelist minister who runs the boarding school on the camp grounds, and they are forcibly separated, both of them beaten. Her father and mother mourn their separation and is sent to the fields to grow corn and onions. The scene shifts to Tila, a couple days later, who is being chastised by the minister and the school's headmistress Miss Rektor (played by the writer, Torri Lindt) for not being able to read the prompt on the board. Her thoughts are heard as she is reminded of her time as a younger girl, where she complained about having to care for her grandfather. "I did not think I was free then." She is punished for daydreaming by being locked in a shed behind the school. The Cat returns to scavenge for food when he stumbles upon the shed where Tila is pacing within. Sneaking in, he stays with her for a time, until Tila falls asleep, where his thoughts come up with a plan to get them out. He manages to sneak and unlock the shed door and provides a distraction so Tila can go back to her family's tent. Tila takes charge and begs in hushed whispers to her family that they have to get away, that The Cat had saved her yet again. While Tila hides in the tent, the parents and a few other camp prisoners meet and discuss the plan.
In the wee hours before morning, the camp prisoners start a riot, setting fire to several camp structures and causing a commotion. Tila, tasked with getting her grandfather to the stable, her progress is temporarily stopped inside by the headmistress, steel ruler in hand, striking both Tila and her grandfather to the ground. Laughing at her "most unruly subject, possessed and sin-ridden," she moves her arm back to strike before she is attacked by The Cat, dropping a bucket from the rafters on her head before dropping down to fight her. As the headmistress is distracted, Tila and her grandfather manage to open the gates on the horses, as well as saddle up two for themselves. Meeting her parents in the Odavli crowd, they get on the extra horse and ride away, followed by several escaping Odavli on captured horses of their own. The movie ends with The Cat sauntering from the camp, watching the sun rise, returning to the wild once more.
- Filli as The Cat (voice-acted by Hans Visby)
- Anton Akesson as The Conductor
- Ahyoka Inola as Tila
- Eno Koll as Tila's Father
- Sali Wateyu as Tila's Mother
- Wes Awiakta as Tila's Grandfather
- Ludwig Bern as the Gospelist Minister
- Torri Lindt as Headmistress Rektor