Cat Sticks is one of the many films that has hit the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival, but this film has a few things that make it stand out from the crowd. First is that it is the only Indian film in the festival. While Cat Sticks stands out for that amazing feature itself, it is sure to stand out for many other reasons.
The film takes place in Calcutta, India where on one rainy night a group of drug addicts chases their next fix of brown sugar. The film ties together the stories of several addicts, some chasing the drug and others being chased by it.
“…on one rainy night a group of drug addicts chases their next fix of brown sugar.”
Cat Sticks is from India in the Bengali language with English subtitles. The film is black and white, which I feel is a great feature as it adds to the fine art feel of the film. The black, white, and gray tones create beautiful silhouettes on the screen which make it a truly beautiful film to look at. One downside of the tones is that with the subtitles done in white instead of yellow, it can sometimes blend into the picture, making it difficult to read the subtitles. This issue only occurs a small number of times and does not occur enough to take away from the story. The decision to have the subtitles in white is more of a brilliant move since the familiar yellow colored subtitles may have taken away from the imagery of the film.
There are several scenes alone that come to mind that showcase the artistic genius of director Ronny Sen. For instance, one in which two of the characters inject each other with brown sugar and the two begin to hallucinate. The scene is over a minute long and Ronny Sen found a way to make such a depressing and grotesque thing such as drug use, look like its a painting in motion. And of course, the actors are a big reason why that scene was so powerful.
“…Sen found a way to make such a depressing and grotesque thing such as drug use, look like its a painting in motion.”
The cast of Cat Sticks is phenomenal. Each character on the screen is believable and all work really well together. Not one actor stood out from the other as they all equally lent so much to the film. The characters show many emotions throughout the film and it’s easy to feel the emotions whether there are subtitles on the screen or not. It’s a mark of great acting.
Now, the final thing is my absolute favorite part of the film and that’s its score. A film’s score can add so much and can be so great that it takes on a life of its own, which is exactly what the Cat Sticks score does. The score and the imagery of the film work together in a way that makes this film look like pure art. It’s the kind of score that I could listen to any time of the day and play on repeat. It is one of the best scores that I’ve heard in recent years.
Cat Sticks is definitely a stand out film for more reasons that one. Although the story has a couple of minor issues with it, it is definitely a film that will be talked about for sometime.
Cat Sticks (2019) Directed by Ronny Sen. Written by Ronny Sen, Soumyak Kanti DeBiswas. Starring Tanmay Dhanania, Sumeet Thakur, Joyraj Bhattacharjee, Rahul Dutta, Saurabh Saraswat, Sreejita Mitra, Raja Chakravorty, Kalpan Mitra.
8 out of 10