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Wandering in Town - “The Day My Cat Saved My Life” Review

The movie "The Day My Cat Saved My Life" is based on the main character's personal monologues and also relies heavily on the acting of Kagan Goh in the lead role. His narration advances us through the story and help us answer the questions we are dealing with. We can see that the screenplay is written based on Goh’s very own experiences, especially when, in the beginning, we read “it’s based on a true story”. The picture starts by introducing the protagonist to the audience as a person trapped in distress. We understand what things in life are causing him distress and we sympathize with his sensitivities. We see that he is in agony from the hustle and bustle of the city. We hear how he is constantly in conflict with himself and how his inner voice reflects his situation.

One of the problems that the film highlights from the beginning is the issue of judgment by society. We hear the voices of many people in the protagonist's mind telling him to find a job and get his life in order. The issue of being judged and living up to other people's standards is one of the problems of life in big cities. A place where competition is ongoing and people have to constantly fight to have more and be better. In a situation like this, the protagonist loses his ability to cope and fights with society and becomes disoriented. He leaves home and wanders aimlessly down the streets. As the narrator also points out, he goes from one side to the other like a drunkard without knowing where he is going.

The two issues that Kagan Goh points to, go hand in hand from the very beginning. One of them is the issue of identity. How can a human being maintain their identity or even organize their thoughts when society does not allow individuals to get out of predetermined frameworks? People in society are obliged to behave according to established patterns in a big city. As a result, living a natural and normal life becomes difficult. The main character of the story, who sees himself to have a faint relationship with his true self, becomes insane. An insanity that leads to leaving home. The second issue goes hand in hand with identity is loneliness. Again, this loneliness is related to living in the city. The filmmaker constantly emphasizes this aspect of the issue, namely the role of the city and urban life in the seclusion of people. The main character's loneliness is hinted from the beginning by the filmmaker; as if he's standing against the city in this battle. The main character, who has been exhausted by people's judgments and the hardships of life, asks a stranger on the street for a job. Here, the filmmaker also refers to social problems. Problems such as unemployment alongside loneliness and identity crises are enough to drive a person insane.

The director doubles the impact of the issues raised by playing this role. Because the issue of migration is also added to the aforementioned issues. Kagan Goh, who is originally from Singapore, emphasizes the problems of immigrants by playing the lead role in a film shot in Canada. At the end of the movie and after the climax, the character has ultimately reached despair and his savior is no one but his cat! His cat comes just at the moment when the character is in his moment of devastation and its arrival seems to change everything for the man. By seeing his cat, he puts all his troubles aside because he sees that his pet needs him. The man can kill himself and get rid of his problems, but his cat prevents him.

In movies which deal with the conflict between the individual and the city, people gradually become empty of any motivation or need. In “The Day My Cat Saved My Life”, the issue intensifies when we realize that the character has no job and is alone. The filmmaker shows his loneliness through shouting at the city. As we hear his inner voice on the screen, we see his distress, anger, and frustration that have been shown well. By playing his role, he makes us believe that his on the verge of breakdown. How is it shown? With an analytical view to Kegan Goh’s performance, at first he’s calm and in peace. His face bears no emotion. As he’s telling that it’s his parent’s place, he begins to move. His first gestures are inconsiderable and temporal. His face is affected by his inner turmoil as he reaches the buildings and the noise of construction in the city. We see hatred and anger on his face. His torture gradually reaches its peak until he hears the voices of his neighbors accusing him in his mind and sees their faces in his mind. Then, he comes down the stairs and leaves the house. Kagan Goh's performance is based on body movements. His stumbling, nervous running in the alley, and shaking hands are signs of reaching the stage of breakdown.

After the cat arrives, his performance changes slowly, and he becomes calm and peaceful. This peace becomes deeper and deeper. This part of his performance can be considered as the beginning of the film, except for this time we can see a kind of comfort, attachment, and tranquility in his stillness. From this point of view, the change in his performance at the beginning and end of the film is interesting because he maintains the same initial calmness at the end (we return to the starting point), but this time he is in comfort. Notice his walking in that alley. While the camera is moving away more and more, it focuses more and more on his cat, as if he is protecting him from the environment.

The movie “The Day My Cat Saved My Life” can be a step towards finding ways to overcome depression and loneliness. It is clear that the picture was made on a low budget, but it bears many points to learn from.


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