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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Kedi (2016)

A documentary on the feral cats of Istanbul where they are not a nuisance but a very part of the city's landscape. The cats wander thru restaurants, walk into shops and stores, nap on car hoods and tap on your window so they can visit. While we would shoo them away or call animal control, in Istanbul they are more than tolerated. They give the city's denizens a chance to connect with their humanity. If you're expecting a cute cat movie, forget it. While it's clear the Turks have a great affection for their feline citizens, the film is unsentimental. We see the unpleasant side as when an abandoned kitten is killed by an adult cat, cats asserting territorial rights as well as patrolling the sewers for  mice and kittens left to fend for themselves saved by the kindness of strangers. The bigger picture is also hinted at as the landscape of Istanbul is being changed from old fashioned charm to new high rises taking over and the very real possibility as the area begins to be demolished that the cats will perish too. But for the most part, the film is a paean to the relationship between man and feline and how their beauty and independence and parceled out affection can bring out the best in us. As I said, not a sentimental movie but I have to confess that during the film's final montage of these beautiful creatures, my eyes started watering up.

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