By Cole Williams
Designer of The Journal
In point of fact I was a member of the American Film Institute a few years back. It’s not a big deal. You just pay your dues and get a magazine once a month covering film restoration efforts and current industry news. I let my membership run out after a couple of years. Knowing too much about the technical aspect of filmmaking was ruining movies for me.
Like Mark Twain when he became a riverboat pilot: knowing too much about something can take the romance out of it. Twain once remarked that he was glad he didn’t become a gynecologist.
Back to movies. The film in question is a 2016 independent documentary, “Kedi.” We saw it at the Manship Theatre in Baton Rouge on May 7.
Directed by Ceyda Torun and focusing mainly on seven particular felines, what gives the film its soul is the relationship between the cats and the humans who care for them. The Turks seem to really love and respect these animals, who have been roaming those streets since the heyday of the Ottoman Empire.
At a running time of one hour and 20 minutes, the film includes several touching stories. For instance, there’s the middle aged man who finds meaning in his life by taking care of the cats in his neighborhood after suffering debilitating depression brought about by a terrible tragedy in his family.
The photography is as excellent as the storytelling, with the camera lingering on the crazy patchwork of contemporary architecture and ancient mosques that forms the modern cityscape of Istanbul. This along with many stunning shots of the Bosphorus, the straight that connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara and forms the boundary between European and Asian Istanbul.
The rub is that this is a flick about cats. If you’re a cat lover, you’ll enjoy this movie. If you’re not, you may just leave the theater in a state of nervous agitation.
However, judging from the insane popularity of all things cat-related on the internet, I’d be surprised if this movie doesn’t become a cult favorite. It has already started streaming.