Film Review: KEDI (Turkey/USA 2016) ***

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kedi.jpgDirector: Ceyda Torun
Star: Bülent Üstün

Review by Gilbert Seah

 Right on the paws of the controversial Hollywood animal movie A DOG’S PURPOSE comes KEDI, a film about cats. KEDI is set in Istanbul, Turkey. The film’s niche is that it is a documentary looking at the ancient city of Istanbul (a city that has survived through the rise and fall of empires) through the eyes of cats. Director Torun live in Istanbul and understands the city.

Cats are not as trainable as dogs. Torun had to basically follow her cats around, hoping that they do what is expected of them and that a story (or stories) can be told. The difficulty of using cats is immediately noticeable upon watching both A DOG’S PURPOSE and KEDI. But there are dog persons and cat persons.

Unfortunately, I am a dog person and basically despise cats, but I will try to be unbiased in reviewing this cat documentary.

Istanbul is seen through the eyes of seven cats. Torun has chosen her cats to be as distinct as possible from each other. The stories are not interweaved and unfold one after another. During the breaks, many cats are shown together at different spot in the city. The film first introduces Sari, a yellow tabby. After she roams the streets, she is revealed to be with young kittens to feed. Sari is a persistent hustler, a quality that has earned her the love of a local shopkeeper. The send is Aslan Parçasi, better known as “little lion”. He is rewarded by a famous fish restaurant for keeping it mice-free. Psikopat is a tough cookie who fears no one, respected by local humans for her boldness. Duman, a little chunky thanks to his gourmet diet, has become a fixture at an upscale deli, where he refuses to beg. Deniz is known as the Ferikoy Organic Market’s social butterfly, Gamsız is a tough fighter with a sweet face that can charm any human, and Bengü is sweet and cuddly, beloved by everyone in her neighbourhood. Torun divides equal screen time among the cats without favouritism. So, whig cat is the most adorable? It is entirely up to the individual.

The film also deals with the plight of the cats as the city is modernized with less greenery. The result would be fewer places for the cats to poop. The film also shows the relationship between certain people and the cats. Thousands of stray cats in Istanbul. But the film omits completely the problems street stray cats can cause.

KEDI is no Disney film – so there are no special effects and human-style stories, There are also no messages to be learnt in this movie. But the film is just a light, entertaining look at cats and what they do in their lives.

KEDI has a special engagement run at the Bloor Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema. Cat lovers take note! There are lots of cutesy shots of the felines to keep cat lovers purring.



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