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The Things She Can't Avoid in the City (PARK Jee-youn, 2008)

Reviewed by Joni MÄNNISTÖ

The Things She Can't Avoid in the City is a story about a young woman's prolonged breakup from her boyfriend. The film begins when the main character's house is lifted into the air by a tower crane. Due to a new city plan her neighbors have already had to move away from their homes. They are now scattered around the city and living in the gaps transformed as cats. One of these people is her boyfriend who's now a man with a cat's head. While the house is lifting up the woman and her boyfriend are watching each other drifting apart.

The force removal of the house is interrupted by a strike which leaves the house hanging in the air. The strike resembles the paused situation in their relationship. The boyfriend visits her and eats the pie that she has made for him. He wants more from her but when he gets closer to her the house hanging from the crane goes out of balance. To keep it stable they have to stay away from each other.

Time passes by and the boy comes back. The girl notices he's gaining weight. He confesses he has met another woman who cooks fish for him. The girl has decided to sell the house and move into a gap of the city closer to him. But the boy balances with being cat or human. When he has pie he wants fish and vice versa. He tries to move closer to her again, but the house goes out of balance. Boy leaves being frustrated.

The girl finally realizes their relationship isn't working when a newlywed couple comes with a real estate agent to see her house. It stays in balance even though the couple in love is walking around the house. The girl and her boyfriend are just too different. The other one is a human and the other one is a cat.

For her misfortune she cannot sell the house. The house is a symbol of their relationship. As hard it is for her to get rid of the house it is to end the relationship with him. Every day she makes pies for him just to wait if he might visit. Finally three years of breaking up leads to an end. The boy's sexual desire has grown to a point when he has to eat the girl to fulfill his appetite. The girl ends up in his stomach with the other women the boy has swallowed.

The Things She Can't Avoid in the City uses a lot of visual and verbal metaphors that supports the story and provides it with deeper meanings. The city changes and so do the people living in there.

Joni MÄNNISTÖ is a Finnish animation director and animator specialized mainly in traditional animation techniques. After graduating he joined two animation collectives Paperihattu and Anikistit.

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