November 16, 2017
Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:10 pm
Director: Ceyda Torun
Cast: Bülent Üstün
Runtime: 80 minutes
Language: Turkish with English subtitles Rating: G
Sidewalk Film Festival: Best Family Film
“Kedi is steeped in charm and simple wisdom. I should state flat-out that I am not a cat person, but this film won me over all the same.”—Leonard Maltin, leonardmaltin.com
Impossible to resist (and 100 percent allergy-free for us afflicted souls), Kedi is almost shamelessly satisfying: a documentary about the thousands of scrappy wild cats that prowl Istanbul with insouciance. Whose streets? Their streets. This isn’t a documentary for disbelievers.
Historically the ancient city has, for centuries, dealt with what might be termed a cat problem. Still, Ceyda Torun’s warm-hearted exposé definitely sees the army of felines as an asset. Sometimes captured in high-angle drone shots and elsewhere via a slinky roving camera, Kedi is The Shining, but with cats. Torun’s co-producer and cameraman Charlie Wupperman filmed in Istanbul for two months, painstakingly getting down to cat level and following the animals around, even using a bit of infra-red technology to follow one cat on the hunt for a mouse,
We’re down on the ground intimately with these animals, whose day-to-day impulsiveness finds a sinuous expression in some of the most elegant camerawork to ever grace a nature doc.
We follow seven especially brazen subjects, and it’s easy to get swept up in their individual dramas. There’s the little guy who paws every afternoon at the window of a café like he’s auditioning for a new production of Oliver! We also meet amorous alley strutters, psychotic yowlers and regally pampered pusses that know they have it made.
Kedi finds depth via its many interviews with humans, some of whom see the cats as wise spirits, others who need them as objects for their compassion. These beasts awaken something within the souls of these people, making them kinder and more playful. If Kedi did the same for audiences, that wouldn’t be so bad.