Tuesday, April 5, 2022

#2,734. Kedi (2016) - Spotlight on Turkey


Cats have lived in what is now Istanbul for thousands of years
They have seen empires rise and fall
and the city shrink and grow
Though cared for by many, they live without a master
And whether adored, despised, or overlooked,
they are undeniably a part of everyone’s life.

The above text is our introduction to director Ceyda Torun’s 2016 film Kedi, a documentary that also serves as a love letter to the thousands of felines roaming the streets of her hometown.

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, and for centuries its citizens have shared this ever-changing metropolis with their four-legged friends. Throughout Kedi, Torun and her chief cinematographer Charlie Wupperman intersperse shots of everyday life with those of prowling felines, showing us time and again how cats have become part of the city’s landscape.

Along the way, we are introduced to a number of individuals - from shop owners to local citizens - who have come to love these animals, and do what they can to care for them. We also get to know a fair number of the film’s real stars: the cats themselves. Bengu has just given birth to kittens, and while her caretaker has no idea where she’s hidden her litter, Torun’s camera follows the elusive feline to her hiding place, and watches as she angrily protects her offspring from another cat when it ventures too close to the “nursery”. Each of the cats featured in Kedi has its own unique personality, and the bonds they share with their human counterparts are front and center throughout the film.

In fact, as Kedi shows us time and again, it’s often the caretakers who benefit most from these interactions; one gentleman talks of how he suffered a nervous breakdown a few years earlier, and considers it therapeutic to feed the many cats that live along the waterway. He even purchases medicine to treat one kitten’s infected eye.

Featuring beautiful imagery (there are shots that would undoubtedly make Istanbul’s tourism council beam with pride), Kedi is a thoughtful, upbeat, even touching motion picture about the loving relationship that exists between people and cats, and it will warm your heart like few documentaries have before.
Rating: 9 out of 10

No comments: