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Kedi: The Cats of Istanbul

A charming documentary essay about stray cats, and the people who care for them

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The Turkish capital is known for its large population of stray cats, and in Ceyda Torun’s charming documentary essay, some of those felines — and the humans who care for them — are profiled. What unfolds at a leisurely pace is a unique portrait of a vibrant and cosmopolitan city from the perspective of its cats; some of the film is shot at “cat level,” where there is a lot of sidewalk and footwear. But Torun can’t resist taking in Istanbul’s sweeping vistas, with the city’s famed hills and waterways. And speaking of the harbor, plenty of cats hang out there, flirting with the fisherman, and competing with seagulls for fishy scraps. (The wide variety of cats in town may have originated from the city’s significance as a port; vessels from all over would keep a cat as a mouser, and some cats undoubtedly jumped ship for dry land.) Assorted people, from an artist to a restaurateur, speak of the soulful connection one can form with cats; even the bad-ass stand-offish street cat is affectionately called “the neighborhood psychopath,” and given a scratch around the ears. “Without the cat,” one man muses, “Istanbul would lose part of its soul.” A must for fans of cats, cities and city cats.


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