Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories
Directed by Ceyda Torun

Feb 09, 2017 Web Exclusive
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Existing somewhere between a feature-length ad for Turkish tourism and the most artful internet cat video ever made, Kedi is a documentary exploring the enormous stray cat population in modern Istanbul. Director Ceyda Torun and cinematographer Charlie Wupperman have selected a dozen different felines in various parts of the city and followed them on their daily routines as they interact with each other and with the human population of Istanbul. The film spends five to ten minutes with each cat before moving on to another, and never loops back to any previous subject, resulting in a pleasant, meandering exploration of Istanbul and its inhabitants.

Given how easy it is to pander to cat lovers, Kedi deserves credit for never stooping to outright mawkishness or cheap emotional manipulation. Rather than presenting the existence of a city of stray cats as a tragedy or problem to be solved, Torun instead highlights the more laid-back and informal relationship that the citizens of Istanbul have with their feline neighbors. The various humans interviewed throughout the film – ranging from shop and restaurant owners to fishermen and artists – seem more interested in waxing philosophical about the cats they’ve come to know through daily routine, rather than cooing over their various antics. The amusement people derive from the needy obstinacy that is unique to cats certainly transcends culture and language, but Kedi presents Istanbul’s cat population less as the collective pet of its human inhabitants and more as a simple, secondary culture co-existing with the rest of the city. Torun’s appropriately lazy pacing and sharp eye for framing – several wide shots of the city will look like still postcards until a cat subtly slinks through a corner of the shot – make the film ideal Sunday afternoon viewing for lovers of travelling and cats.

Rating: 6.5/10 for regular people, 9/10 for people who love cats.

Author rating: 6.5/10

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