Shedding is a strange, surreal film that is beautifully shot. I’m still not entirely sure what to think about it, but I definitely enjoyed it.
The film is about a cat and is told mostly from the cat’s point of view. In fact, there was a moment about five minutes into the film where I found myself wondering if the entire thing was going to be 75 minutes of cat videos. It was not, but, honestly, in the capable hands of director Jake Thomas and producer/DP Erin Brown Thomas, that still would have been an enjoyable film.
The film we’re actually given, though, is so much more. The premise is a bit reminiscent of Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Panda the Cat awakens one morning after a tremendous amount of shedding to find that he has been transformed in his bed into a giant human. Well, a regular-sized human, but, still, considerably bigger than his usual cat size.
The cat (now played by human actor Lex Quarterman) then leaves his home and explores the world around him. After a while, he meets a woman (Karla Droege), and the two begin to bond. Neither of them seems to fit in with the world around them, but perhaps they can help each other—at least until the woman’s daughter (Jacquelyn Zook) comes along and tries to make sense of everything. There is, after all, nothing that will ruin a relationship like this faster than trying to make sense of it.
There’s very little dialogue in this film. Aside from one or two muffled words, the first spoken lines don’t come until about 20 minutes in. Eventually, when the human characters start to show up, there’s a bit more talking, but still not a huge amount. The main focus here is on the visual aspect.
The main actor, Lex Quarterman, doesn’t speak at all. His character is, after all, a cat—and he plays it brilliantly. His movements and mannerisms are spot on. When watching the film, you don’t find yourself thinking, “That’s a human actor, playing a cat.” You just think, “That’s a cat that’s been turned into a human.”
Droege and Zook are also very good. They have nearly all of the dialogue in this film, both together and separately; however, much like Quarterman, they don’t convey the story as much through their dialogue as they do through their performances. There’s a bit of necessary exposition, but much of the story is conveyed without it, simply from how they interact with each other, and with the cat.
All around, this is a strange and beautiful film, wonderfully acted, and incredible to watch. I highly recommend it.
Creative Team: Jake Thomas (writer/director/editor) Erin Brown Thomas (producer/director of photography), Lex Quarterman (The Cat), Karla Droege (The Mother), and Jacquelyn Zook (The Daughter)
Produced by: Benchtree Pictures
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