Tamala 2010: A Punk Cat In Space is a nonsensical romp through Cat-space with an adolescent furry guide. There’s not much point in me trying to explain the story, because there really isn’t one. Perhaps it could best be summed up by “young cat upset with corp-rat takeover tours the Universe”. Or perhaps not.
The best attempts to describe Tamala will founder basically because the film makes sense only from a cat’s point of view. Those familiar with moggies will know that life consists of sleep, eat, investigate, sleep, play, break stuff, eat, sleep. Odd fancies take cats in all sorts of directions at the drop of a hat, and our Tamala is no exception. She jets hither and yon in her tiny kitty space-craft, eats, sleeps, has sex, throws catfits, and generally acts like a cat out on the tiles. The creators have cunningly fashioned a credible space-cat who manages to be cool, cat-like, and quirky, while giving us a tour of space as hallucinated by a member of the acid generation.
One of my favourite scenes lasts for only a few seconds, and shows Tamala strolling past an archetypal cute kid singing and dancing. I won’t tell you what happens, because that would spoil the fun, but I laughed. And I love the way Tamala, for all her cute-as-a-Japanese-merchandising-dream face, doesn’t hesitate to stick a ciggie in her mush and puff like a soldier. Bless her, she is in Asia, after all.
One of the strengths of this film is the soundtrack: cheerful yet oddball J-pop from band Trees of Life. Think what would happen if Lily Chou-Chou had all her problems solved, got happy, then sat in a field and took some mind-altering chemicals. Catchy, odd, and irresistable, and always perfectly fitted to the Tamala action: I was so entranced that I had to buy the damn thing immediately, and I’ve been listening to it ever since (Tamala screened at HKIFF 2003).
In short, Tamala is incomprehensible, cat-filled, and buckets of fun. See it at MIFF, you’ll thank me.