80 minutes | No MPAA rating
“Without cats the world loses part of its soul.”
That comment from a resident of Istanbul, Turkey, pretty much sums up the ethos of “Kedi (Cat),” a nonlinear documentary about that city’s vast population of semi-feral street felines.
Director Ceyda Torun’s film offers no scrolls of relevant statistics; no testimony by animal control officers, city fathers or health specialists; no fact-dispensing narration.
Instead we listen to everyday Istanbul residents talk about their relationships with the felines who share their lives. We marvel at some of the most amazing cat footage ever.
The tens of thousands of cats who live on Istanbul’s streets aren’t wild, exactly. They may not have owners as such, but most have struck up lasting relationships with one or more humans.
The cats receive food, grooming and occasional medical care; the humans report a significant improvement in their lives. (One fellow claims his cat buddies cured him of mental illness; now he devotes big part of every day and a substantial chunk of his income to feeding them.)
These aren’t your stereotypical cat ladies. They’re shop owners, cooks, fish mongers, pensioners, students and others who simply love living in a city where almost everywhere you look there’s a cat running, climbing, sleeping.
But the human/animal connections run deep. Says one young woman of her very first cat: “Let’s just say that if there’s an afterlife, I want to meet her again. Not my grandmother.”