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KEDI is Like a Feature-Length Cat Video—Only Better! (Review)

KEDI is Like a Feature-Length Cat Video—Only Better! (Review)

If the internet has taught us one absolute truth, it’s that people love cat videos. Even people who don’t love cats all that much (yes, they do exist) will find themselves chuckling at the creatures’ sometimes graceful/sometimes goofy antics. I may be biased (I’ve been a cat lover since I was a little kid), but there’s just something innately beautiful and undeniably graceful about the domesticated feline—even when they’re being troublesome little monsters who come and go as they please. And given how darn popular cat videos have proven to be on YouTube, it should come as no surprise to learn that YouTube Red went out and acquired the distribution rights for the highly-acclaimed documentary called Kedi. Why? Because Kedi is a movie about a city—Istanbul, Turkey—that is seemingly packed with both throngs of free-roaming kitties and more than enough kind people to help take care of them.

There are, of course, numerous locations around the world in which you’ll find domesticated cats wandering all over the place, but Istanbul is surely one of the most beautiful. Not only does Kedi director Ceyda Torun have a clear and obvious affection for the cats that cavort through her city’s streets, and she also seems to have a lot of love for the various clerks, fishermen, and chefs who do their part to keep the animals healthy. Kedi may be not much more than an 80-minute trip through an exotic city that focuses on seven very distinctive kitties and their various human friends… but who says there’s anything wrong with a sweet, simple documentary that focuses on the friendship between man and their beloved animal companions? Not me.

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What starts out as a novelty (“Hey, these cats just walk around freely and nobody minds? How cute!”) quickly becomes a lovely story about the ways in which human and cat can co-exist in an increasingly more crowded world. Kedi is broken up into seven segments, each one devoted to one particular puss and their amusingly elaborate routines.

Ms. Torum introduces us to each kitty by way of their key personality traits — Sari (The Hustler), Duman (The Gentleman), Bengü (The Lover), Aslan Parçasi (The Hunter), Psikopat (The Psycho), Deniz (The Social Butterfly), and my favorite Gamsiz (The Player) — but while the cats and their adorable antics are probably the main draw for most viewers, what stands out most is the grace, warmth, and kindness with which the Istanbul citizens treat these animals. In other words, cats are great, but the people who take care of stray cats are pretty amazing too. If it’s true that you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat animals, then the human stars of Kedi are nothing short of everyday heroes.

Lovingly shot and intensely affectionate where the relationship between man and feline are concerned, Kedi may look like little more than a feature-length “cat video” on the surface, but there’s a lot of light, heart, and compassion to be found in this lovely little documentary, and I hope it finds a warm, sunny place in the hearts of cat lovers everywhere.

4.5 Turkish fish burritos out of 5:

4.5-burritos1

Images: Oscilloscope Laboratories

 

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