Kedi: NZIFF Review
Cast: Cats, Istanbul vistas, People
Director: Ceyda Torun
It's perhaps no surprise that a documentary about cats is as fluffy as one of the feline's tails.
But it's also perhaps no surprise that this gentle doco is as amiable and as universal as they come.
Against the backdrop of Istanbul's streets, so beautifully captured and brought to life on the big screen, Kedi follows seven different cats with distinct personalities and a grip on the people who inhabit the streets and live their daily humdrum lives.
With Torun running a street level rig, the film follows the pussies as they weave their way in and out of people's lives, shopfronts and cajole them to feed them.
There's no ground-breaking reason for Kedi to exist; it's simply a case of documenting life on the streets.
However, what emerges from the cod-philosophising of the nameless faces that extol the virtues of the rampant animals running amok in a friendly way, is a sense of community and a sense of belonging that these critters engender.
Despite the odd hyperbole spun by some of the anthropomorphizing and projecting tendencies of the commenters (one woman draws a long bow between how the female cats stand strong and upright in their dignity, whereas women of their religion are cowed and oppressed and that she "doesn't see elegance in women like that anymore"), what starts to emerge is a city with a tremendous sense of heart above all else.
As is mentioned early on, the cats have been there for thousands of years, and have seen empires grow and fall; they are as timeless in the fabric of the city as those who look after them.
From the baker who has an open tab at the vets to help to the sailor who feels duty bound to hand rear a litter of kittens whose mother has disappeared, this is the milk of human kindness writ large on the screen. Along with furry feline interactions - whether it's cat looking like it's been caught on camera stealing fish or another staring photogenically down the lens, there's something for all animal lovers here, though the more hardened cinema-goer may find parts of their own fur bristling as time goes on.
Slow-mo close-ups will look radiant upon the big screen and the film-makers in their gentle touches do nothing more than desire to elicit a sympathetic "Aww" from those subjected to this endless parade of cute.
Unlike the viciousness of former fest outing White God's canine uprising, Kedi has a soothing tone and deceptively simple ambitions to fulfill which it hits with relative ease throughout; it aims to showcase a city awash in humanity, with a co-existence of cats and their masters, basking in the glow of simpler times.
Kedi may not be cinematic catnip to the likes of Gareth Morgan, but there's a strong case to say that any animal lover or family seeking a gentle outing will be entranced by the warmth of this microcosm of furry life.