More than just another example of cute kittens on camera, this documentary about the cats of Istanbul and the people who watch out for them exudes charm and insight that a million YouTube videos cannot match.
“It’s hard to say whether Ceyda Torun’s delightful and visually splendid Kedi is a documentary about Istanbul, with cats, or a documentary about cats that happens to be set in Istanbul... If Kedi is any sort of anthropological examination of the life of a city, it works because its vision is filtered through the lazy-looking but in fact hyper-aware eyes of our feline compatriots. They always see things we can’t. In turning our gaze toward them, we learn deep truths about ourselves. Meanwhile, their lives go on, their brains whirring with thoughts like ‘What is that guy doing on my turf?’ ‘I’d like a nice piece of fish right now,’ and ‘Where’s a good spot to have kittens?’
We see cats thinking all of those things, and more, in Kedi– which means cat, in Turkish. The picture’s pleasures are bountiful, particularly for cat lovers...There are cats sleeping obliviously on unnervingly high-up ledges; cats padding across corrugated rusty-red roofs; cats just hanging out in doorways, their ears barely twitching as nearby humans extol their virtues... A baker goes about his daily business, creating homey-looking pastries that you’ll wish you could eat immediately, while explaining how much his store cat enriches his life and the neighborhood. The cat recently needed medical care. ‘We all have a running tab at the vet,’ he says with a shrug.
In all great cities, the magnificent intersects with the mundane – that’s what makes them not only livable but vital. The cats of Kedi tell that story, in between naps. They know a good place when they’ve found it.”—Stephanie Zacharek, Time