The explicit text of Shinji Sômai's The Catch is a familial drama, a story that espouses the insidious nature of masculine hubris and the destructive effect it can have on the family unit. The story in itself is compelling - if perhaps a little too long - but what I find far more interesting is to view The Catch through the larger prism of society and its disregard for the working-class. Hard labor is a necessary utility for prosperity yet it is often neglected by society itself. The fisherman patriarch at the center of this story is self-destructive in a sense, but what Sômai also exposes is how this is simply a matter of perspective - the denigration such hard labor places on the body and soul internally calcifies the fisherman into a place of emotional solitude, his tough, cold exterior forged out of a life in which no sense of financial fortitude is sustainable. His rough exterior is actually born out of a place of love for his daughter, wanting something better for her despite his inability to express it. The son-in-law's arch is one infused out of masculine pride, incapable or unwilling to recognize his romanticization with labor that ultimately leads to tragedy as he himself forgets what is most important - his shared love with his wife. The Catch is a somewhat messy film narratively and thematically but there are interesting ideas embedded into its conceptual framework related to gender-normative notions of masculinity and social neglect of the working-class.
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