Kedi is directed by Ceyda Torun and is a film about cats in Istanbul. It turns out that there are hundreds of thousands of cats in Istanbul that are street cats; they’re not feral, but they’re not house cats either. Instead they pretty much run free in the streets of the city, but many of them come home to people who care for them but generally don’t “own” them. Until you see it in action, it’s a hard concept to grasp, but when you do see it? It’s fascinating.
Several people are interviewed about their cats, and they lovingly talk about their personalities which are all varied, yet strangely human. It’s not just the cats that have different personality traits: their “humans” also wildly vary, from a shop owner who cares for a cat and her kittens to a grizzled fisherman who found a box of kittens and now feeds them milk with a syringe in order to keep them alive.
There’s two women who prepare 20 pounds of chicken every day to feed dozens of cats in their home and surrounding neighborhood, and a man who walks around the city giving food to all of the cats who come running when they see him. These individuals are all different but most share a common fragility, be it past physical or mental illness or personal tragedy that were all eased by caring for and loving their cats.
Kedi (“cat” in Turkish) isn’t just beautiful because of its personal stories, it’s beautifully shot and showcases a gorgeous ancient city. The real stars of course are the cats themselves, and the camera just loves them. If you’re a cat lover like me, this film is pure eye candy from start to finish. I can’t even count how many times I said “AWW!!” in my head, or “Kitty!” I’m not going to lie, unless you’re into cats, you may not “get” Kedi. While animal lovers probably like cats, cat lovers are a breed onto themselves and this film may not be interesting to many because it really is a niche film.
But whether or not you love cats, the relationships these very independent cats have with other cats and humans is really quite fascinating to watch. I was also struck by how nonplussed the cats were around so much noise and people. They were completely unaffected by the cameras to the point of indifference, and literally were socializing with complete strangers. I’ve had less intimate relationships with friends’ cats that I’ve seen dozens of times because they scatter or whatever.
Personally, as the mother of two gorgeous kitties (shout out to Atticus and Margo!) the thought of letting my cats outside gives me hives, (I won’t even let them near a door I’m walking in or out of) so that was anxiety I had to try to get over while watching the film.
I really enjoyed Kedi for its beautiful photography, study of animal behavior and of course, the gorgeous cats. This was another film I was completely clueless about when I sat down to watch it and I am so pleased that I saw it. I gave it a rating of 4 out of 5.