When announcing his retirement back in 2013, animator Hayao Miyazaki had a film crew following his every step, shooting a documentary about the inner goings of Studio Ghibli. The result became The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, an amazing film that looked into Miyazaki’s creative process while he worked on his last two films. However, the true star of the film wasn’t Miyazaki, it was Ushiko, the Studio Ghibli cat that wandered the offices.
In one short scene, Miyazaki reveals he’s envious of the cat’s “schedule-free” life. Weirdly enough, as brief as the cat’s appearance is, it provides an eerie parallel between Miyazaki’s reality and desire, the cat representing that elusive desire for freedom. But on a less analytical note, we also just like cats.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015||No Comments »|
The first cats of Ancient Japan arrived on boats that were transporting Buddhist scriptures from China. The cats stayed, making Japan their new home, and inspired a generation of artists and writers who were obsessed with the passive felines.
Life of Cats: Selections From the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection is an exhibition that chronicles the influence cats had in Japanese ancient art, particularly ukiyo-e woodblock prints of the Edo Period (1615-1867). The series is divided into five sections: Cats and People, Cats as People, Cats versus People, Cats Transformed and Cats and Play. The exhibition is currently on display at Japan Society, but for you non-New Yorkers, you can check out selected pieces from the exhibit above.
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The Internet is obsessed with cats, but feline fanciers are taking it to another level by visiting the Japanese island of Aoshima, better known as “Cat Island.” Officially, there’s only 22 humans living on the island, but the tourists don’t care about the old timers when there are more than 120 adorable feral cats to feed and pet. Although the only way to get back and forth from Aoshima and the rest of mainland Japan is a ferry that runs twice a day, cat lovers are flocking to the island anyway to hang out with some of the felines.
Back in the day, the cats were brought over to the island to help fishermen deal with their mice problem, but as the population declined and there was nobody around to spay or neuter the cats, their numbers swiftly sky-rocketed.
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These days it might seem like the Internet’s obsession with cats is some kind of new modern phenomenon, but people’s fascination with cats has existed long before media companies started capitalizing off it. Private Life of a Cat, a 1947 silent film directed by husband/wife filmmaking team Alexander Hammid & Maya Deren, is a short documentary about a cat who gives birth to kittens. At 20 minutes long and with no sound, the video might be branded as “experimental,” but there’s hardly anything strange about it. What we have here is the true mystique of cats, presented without comedy or gimmicks, that showcases all the subtle quirks that make them so unique. We also just really like cat videos.
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Francesco Marciuliano’s poetry collection I Knead My Mommy And Other Poems By Kittens is a hilarious look at the world through the eyes of a fluffy and adorable kitten. While it may seem like a cheesy poetry book at first glance, with a deft hand and a twinkle in her eye, Marciuliano allows cat owners and lovers to get inside the head of their new furry friend as they learn what it means to be an adult.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, October 1st, 2014||No Comments »|
Redemption: The No Kill-Revolution In America is a documentary about the no-kill revolution that is currently taking place in the United States and is based on a book by author Nathan J. Winograd. In the video, viewers learn how Henry Bergh founded the ASPCA after he saw how animals such as draft horses were suffering. However, after his death, the shelter quickly disregarded his no-kill policies and continued euthanizing healthy pets alongside the ones that were ill.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Tuesday, August 12th, 2014||No Comments »|