Confirmed feline lovers, my daughter and I went to the film Kedi last week-end. Following the lives of a few of the cats who wander the streets of Istanbul and the humans with whom they interact, the portrayal is charming, filled with the small adventures of small creatures, brimming with human affection and concern.
I had been concerned about the drama of tragedy and loss which so often pervade animal films, but, with few exceptions, this one is filled with light and energy and humor. Of course, there are difficult moments ~ street cat life is challenging and not always a successful venture ~ but they are usually a motivation for human compassion. As one man says, “most of us have a running tab at the vet’s.”
Toward the end, a tone of sadness begins to pervade the voice-overs. The neighborhoods, with their crowded rows of small apartment buildings, vibrant markets, and street-front shops, are gradually being bulldozed to make way for skyscrapers, and the residents wonder what will become of the cats, who will have nowhere to go. The same, of course, will be true for many of the people.
I was struck by how resilient, and yet how fragile, are the lives of street cats, and how much they and their human companions depend upon one another for sustenance, comfort, and friendship. The skyscrapers are signs of the human will to isolate and barricade, to imagine security where none exists. The cats are signs of fearlessness and creativity persisting against the dangers of hunger and rootlessness.
You can read about the film, and a Letter to the Audience, here.