My Rating: 5 stars
This movie was made for the inner cat-lady in us all—the one that is parasitically burrowing its way into our brains. The film is about the feisty and independent street cats of Istanbul, as well as the half-sane residents of the city who are so captivated by their charms. I had the pleasure of visiting Istanbul a few years ago, and I can attest first-hand, that the city is crawling with unclaimed, yet very friendly cats. And while they do live in the wild, they’re not quite feral. These little beasts are very tame, and they love to receive belly rubs and head scritches. I may even have a whole photo library of me petting the cats of Istanbul. May favorite cat was the one who jumped into my lap as I was eating at an outdoor café, and just went to sleep there for the duration of my meal. So, this movie was pretty much made for me.
This really is a delightful film. Of course, this movie isn’t for you if you’re the kind of curmudgeon who hates all felines. But, if you’ve ever had a cat in your life that you’ve liked, it safe to say that you’ll enjoy this movie. The cats really are the stars of this film. The movie focuses its attention on about five or six specific felines, and the cameras do a pretty good job of following them through the city as they make their regular rounds. Fish market at 6am, go eat breakfast with his morning family, lunch at the farmer’s market, an afternoon snack and some head scratches with the nice old lady who lives on the square, beg for scraps from the street café, then dinner back with the nice shopkeeper who lets him sleep in her storeroom. These cats have full schedules. And, they tend to stick to a pretty regular routine. All in all, the residents of Istanbul love these little creatures, and go out of their way to help them and feed them. Of course, the most devoted helpers are almost certainly a little bit insane. Or, they have toxoplasmosis. Or, they’re trying desperately to fill some kind of emotional void in their psyches. But, it’s not so much that I worry about them. These cats are loveable, and they’re a totally acceptable vessel for any directionless affection.
I was very charmed by this movie. I saw it in the theater, and everyone at the screening was cooing and gasping at how darling these little beasts were. I love cats, and the cats in this film are really catting it up in a very satisfactory fashion. They’re remarkable adventurous and acrobatic. And, the markets and terraces of Istanbul really do provide these cats with their own, dedicated highways. The handful of cats that were selected for this film each has its own, distinct personality, and you’ll have a hard time not anthropomorphizing them. I highly recommend this movie. It’s simple and short, and doesn’t follow any kind of narrative. It’s just the kind of satisfying, slice-of-life documentary that’ll leave you in a good mood for the rest of the day.