Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2011 MFF Film #5 - A Cat in Paris

France/Belgium/Netherlands/Switzerland, 2010
Director: Alain Gagnol, Jean-Loup Falicioli

Zoe is a young girl whose policeman father was killed and her mother, a superintendent with the police, works many hours and is trying to track down her husband's killer.  In her grief, Zoe no longer speaks, and only finds solace with her cat, Dino.  Every evening, Dino prowls the streets of Paris, the accomplice of Nico, a cat burglar.  One night, Zoe decides to follow Dino to find out where he goes, and becomes embroiled in several sticky situations that could bring her great harm, and she finds that she has to trust Nico when even home isn't a safe place anymore.

A Cat in Paris is an utterly charming film.  Though it was technically a children's film, it was definitely tailored to an adult audience as well.  The themes of A Cat in Paris include murder, felony theft and contained a huge amount of action.  There were several times when I could feel my heart racing and I know the look on my face was hilariously anxious; more than a few times, the audience (including me) audibly reacted to what was happening onscreen.

The animation was somewhat typically French: simply drawn characters with bizarre physical features.  I noticed that the good guys all looked kind of similar, yet the bad guys all had different looks to them.  There were also some really breathtaking animated "shots" and wonderfully illustrated panoramic scenes of Paris.  Even the music was great, opening and closing with cool jazz rhythms and a rich symphonic score in between.  The film was in English, undoubtedly for children, and though I tend to be really adamant about watching films in their native language, I wasn't offended at all by the voice talent in A Cat in Paris.  In fact, I rather enjoyed the British accents of some of the characters; without having seen it in its original language (presumably French) it all worked really nicely with the characters.

I absolutely loved A Cat in Paris and I think my decision to see it despite being "a kid's movie" is going to prove to be one of the best viewing decisions I've made in some time.  A Cat in Paris was amazing, charming, suspenseful and brilliant.  Nowadays, we're hard pressed to find any feature film, animated or not, that can be described in these words.

MFF Ballot Rating: 5 out of 5

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