Kedi Screen 80 of 11 reviews

Kedi

2016

Kedi Poster
  • A man explains that taking care of abandoned cats has helped him recover from a nervous breakdown, and many others speak of a special connection to God through their companions. At once down to earth and spiritual, Kedi both pays tribute to and goes beyond the cultural specificity of its setting, reaching a more universal conclusion about how powerfully salutary the coexistence of man and nature can be.

  • Caring for one another and caring for animals may seem like a small thing, but Torun's affectionate portrait of these cats—and the people who love them—makes it seem like the most important thing in the world. A restaurant owner keeps a tip jar on the counter, and the money goes into a fund for vet visits for the cats who hang around outside. Imagine that. Torun combines her up-close-and-personal footage of the cats with transcendent drone shots of Istanbul in all its moods and weather.

  • “Kedi” (“Feline”), a frequently enchanting documentary directed by Ceyda Torun, showcases some of these feline personalities and the humans who look after them... The movie is replete with ingeniously constructed mini-narratives, including a turf war. The mesmerizing score by Kira Fontana, interspersed with well-chosen Turkish pop, is a real asset.

  • Considering Turkey’s political crises and ongoing crackdowns against terrorism, the film’s exclusive positivity feels naïve at times. Yet this very lightness provides a meaningful respite from the wave of darkness currently washing over the globe. While not entirely substantive, it offers a crucial reminder that reciprocity comes in all shapes and sizes, putting a breezy new spin on give and take.

  • Torun has mostly drawn her methods from the sorts of "day in the life of your cat" nature shows you find on Animal Planet, combined with the unexpected rigor of a city-symphony. This dual-approach allows her to cheat a bit, focusing on specific cats in a way that personifies them. But then again, this seems to be somewhat true to the experience of the people of Istanbul themselves, who develop relationships with particular animals when human and feline territory happens to intersect.

  • If “Make America Kittens”—the Chrome extension that instantly replaces Donald Trump’s face with images of adorable cats—no longer blots out the horror, try Kedi, a celebration of the felines of Istanbul and the humans who nurture or, at the very least, appreciate living among them. Never cute, this documentary about the interspecies bonding that defines daily life in Istanbul’s old town is as resourceful, agile, and scruffily seductive as its seven feline stars and supporting cast of hundreds.

  • The cats themselves don’t do anything that would go particularly viral if made into a .gif or Vine (RIP), though they chase mice and arch backs at one another and climb trees and basically act like cats, which is fine, I guess, especially if you like cats. But most of all Kedi shows us the life of an urban environment through the varied people who engage with its unique version of the commons.

  • There is a part of me that wishes Kedi had more context, that it further clarified and spelled out some of the threats facing this beautiful city and its people. But in its own pleasantly dreamy and lilting way, the film embodies what it preaches: As life gets rougher, people endure not by hardening themselves even further, but by continuing to find the freedom to be kind. In Istanbul, the chaos never really stops. Kedi slyly reminds us that the humanity, too, has always been there.

  • While Torun sometimes indulges in this sort of slightly New Age-y mysticism, Kedi is at its best when she focuses on simple on-the-ground observation: street-level portraits and lingering close-ups. Torun approaches her subjects with a measure of whimsy and admiration that respects these animals without rendering them mere icons.

  • My documentary viewing schedule did allow for a light interlude: the intriguing, charming, and socially relevant Kedi... The film’s technical achievement looms large as cinematographers and would-be wranglers Charlie Wuppermann and Alp Korfali expertly deploy Handycam rigs to truck along with the feline adventurers at more or less cat’s-eye level as, for instance, they navigate the obstacle course of human feet and legs in a busy market.

  • Several people talk frankly about having felt broken in some way, and about how taking care of homeless cats feels redemptive... Kedi doesn’t emphasize this element as much as it might have—a sizable chunk of the film resembles cat videos one can find all over the place (apart from having been shot with better equipment). When it uses cats as a stealthy means to investigate the human heart, however, it unsheathes its claws.

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