A Movie About the Cats of Istanbul
The other night Judy and I went to see a movie called Kedi – a documentary about the cats of Istanbul. We visited Istanbul at the end of 2009, and had loved many things about the city – including the omnipresent cats. Judy took the photos in this post during that trip.
There are hundreds of thousands of cats in Istanbul. They are everywhere – even inside many of the city’s most venerated sites. We saw a cat, for instance, soaking up warmth from a spotlight at the Hagia Sophia.
Istanbul street cats seem better off than the typically scruffy feral cat found in America. Many, not quite wild, are fed and petted by a circle of human patrons (not owners).
Kedi is a movie about seven Istanbul street cats and the humans who love them. It was conceived of by the Turkish-born producer-director Ceyda Torun. On the movie’s website, Torun writes:
I grew up in Istanbul and I believe my childhood was infinitely less lonesome than it would have been if it werenʼt for cats … They were my friends and confidants and I missed their presence in all the other cities I ever lived in.
Kedi is a joy to watch, and not just for lovers of cats. Both the people and the cats in this film are deeply appealing, although the cats are funnier. But I was also inspired by the tenderness and affection that the people (a disparate group including a fishmonger, an artist, a shopkeeper, a waiter) offered to their half-wild feline friends.
And Istanbul, with its bustling streets and waterways, is itself is an enchanting presence in the film.
Seeing Kedi may not be as easy as it should be. In the Chicago area it played at only two theaters, and only for a few days. Here’s a link to a list of screenings around the USA. Maybe it will eventually be on Netflix or one of its competitors. You can also buy a digital version.
In the meantime, here’s a link to the trailer.