On the streets of Istanbul, thousands and thousands of stray cats roam and live their daily lives. Whereas with most cities, anywhere practically on the planet, there’s a grand-sweeping of the cats, to hopefully knock down on the population, Istanbul treats their cats with love, adoration, and respect. And somehow, in return, the cats treat these residents the same way. It’s a little love-hate relationship they all have together, and it shows especially through a certain amount of cats whom get to know, understand, and see for what they bring to this community.
And once again, I am talking about cats here, people.
Only in the year 2017 could a documentary about cats be released and get this: Actually be sort of good. It’s not that the movie is trying to tap into the sort of niche-market that’s out there for cats and cat-videos, but what Kedi is, above all else, trying to do is pay a tribute to those little felines that roam our streets, we take videos of, mock, feed, clean-up after, love with absolute affection, and don’t really know what they’re thinking. In a way, a documentary about dogs wouldn’t do much justice, because there’s not much of a mystery behind dogs and the way they act; normally, they’re just either nice, or not.
With cats, there’s such a mystery and oddness to each and everyone and it’s what Kedi taps into the most. It’s also why whenever the movie seems to switch its mind to another cat, sometimes at random, it works because we’re interested in seeing where this movie takes us, what cat we get to see and know next, and most of all, just what kind of magic can be caught on film next. And director Ceyda Torun does an admirable job of making this movie more than just a joke and a gag the whole way through – it truly treats these cats with love and respect, and because of that, we do the same.
Sure, the cats are cute and cuddly, but they’re also just very interesting to watch and learn more about.
There are, of course, at times, when Torun seems to get a little head of herself with Kedi – certain passages about life, love, and how cats can teach us to appreciate both a little bit more, seem like a stretch for sheer self-importance – but really, what the movie does best is capture these cats, in the moments, and make it seem like more than just a bunch of iPhone videos, strung together by a great and stringy score. It’s hard not to get a little misty-eyed by these cats and sort of fall for each one and that’s basically the point: Torun wants us to see these cats for what they are and what they sort of represent. They’re cute, sweet, and sometimes weird, but they’re what help most people live a normal and fulfilling life.
And you don’t just have to be from Istanbul to know, or understand that – just scroll down your Facebook-feed for an hour or so and you’re bound to find at least a dozen or so videos of cats being cats. Sometimes, that’s good, and sometimes, that’s not. And whatever the hell that says about society, doesn’t really matter because cats help us.
Whether we want to admit it or not.
Consensus: Nothing more than what you see, Kedi is absolutely a documentary of its time, but goes beyond being just a gimmick and actually has a heart and feeling to make it an understated testament to all furry felines everywhere.
7.5 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: Oscilloscope Laboratories