Tamala 2010

written and directed by t.o.L.

starring Mochizuki Hisayo and Shinji Takeda


review by Stephen Notley


"Blaze of Destruction and Rebirth Revolving Around the World Takes the Life of Kitten as Its Victim.

Around 3500 B.C.

Environs of Greece on CatEarth

A Dark Cat Efosos from The Minerva Psalms"

Well, that's how Tamala 2010 starts, with that rather cryptic title card. If you're counting on figuring out at some point what that's all supposed to be about, stop. You're not gonna.

Tamala 2010 is animated, and it's from Japan, but it's nothing like typical anime. It's much more stylized, simplified, iconographic, more like the super-simple Hello Kitty style of Japanese advertising rather than traditional Japanese animation. Most of the time the movie's in black and white and grey, except for the odd quick fade into enigmatic color shots of a 3D animated robot cat or the crazy medieval fresco of Cat Torture during the Cat Inquisition. But at the same time it's packed with crazy details, a stratified catified megalopolis blinking with Catty & Co. ads and zipping with cats on fliers.

This is a pretty trippy movie. Indeed, it's less like a movie and more like something you'd expect to see projected on the wall at a dance club or rave, something you'd look up at every few minutes and think "Wow, that's some crazy shit". It wouldn't really make any sense or anything but depending on where you were on your E trip you could easily find yourself fixating on some bizarre scene and you might grab your buddy and say "Man, are you watching this? It's all like a cat world where everybody's a cat except there's these mean dogs and a mouse and another cat and and there was like a rocket and a Colonel Sanders walkin' around with an axe in his head and…" and then you'd trail off because like, whoa, man, look at her, she's hot.

What happens? Well, Tamala is a Punk Cat in Space, a precious bit of sassiness, chirping in her baby voice things like "Me fucking Anaconda Mom won't gib me any treats. She's such a racist." Tamala wakes up, rides a slidewalk, flies into space, gets knocked onto Planet Q, meets a cat named Michelangelo, keeps calling him "Moimoi", they hang out, go to the museum, go clothes shopping, go bowling, go on a picnic… it goes on. Meanwhile we catch glimpses of a dominating relationship between a mean, barbell-pumping dog and a mouse he keeps in a cage. We almost-see a couple of gay cat hustlers bitching about their friends. Every so often a mean sparrow torments a Happy Prince statue, picking at his jeweled eyes. We've got a lengthy dissertation on how code-words from the Minerva religion have insinuated themselves into Catty & Co. iconography. And then there are those white-fades to that 3D catbot. And a zombie dog that tries to say things as wormy worms drip out of his shoulder-hole and wiggle on the couch.

Yes, quite a lot of weirdass shit. Indeed, if you're not on E and you're not a a club it might seem like just a bit too much screwy bullshit to really sit through and watch from beginning to end. Much would depend on your liking for the Japanese club music that occasionally pulses through the proceedings, some of it pretty good. "Repeated destruction and rebirth, the progress of an undying world, their activity based in a crazed doctrine devoted to live sacrifice." That's what you're in for, if you choose to see Tamala 2010. Good luck. Get high.

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