Mar 12, 2017

Cool cats.


Grade: A-

Director: Ceyda Torun

Cast: Bulent Ustun

Runtime: 1 hr 20 min

by John DeSando

“Cats [unlike dogs] know that we’re not God. They know we’re just the middlemen.” Interviewee

Let your inner cat take over and roam Istanbul with director Ceyda Torun as she produces a lovely documentary about the charmed lives of the 100,000 or more cats that benignly people the famous Turkish city. By focusing on the lives of seven cats, Torun effectively characterizes all those privileged felines.

Although this doc, Kedi (Turkish for “cat”), doesn’t negate the generally accepted aloofness of cats or their notorious independence, it brings them alive as individual felines with attributes to make us love each one differently. Memorable are Psikopat (as in "psycopath"), a tough wife to a similar tuxedo, who fears her wrath, and Sari, an orange and white who cleverly forages for her beautiful brood.  

As loveable as all the animal stars of this entertaining documentary are, the humans who take care of the cats (when they let them) are almost as affecting. The interviewees come forward with sayings and observations that are at times lovingly profound and at others just shy of New Age:  “I heal my wounds by healing theirs,” says one cat lover after cooking 20 pounds of chicken for a daily entourage of appreciative strays.

This tone poem’s veracity is slightly compromised by having minimal conflicts as the cats intrude multiple ways on Istanbul life.  Kedi is a lyrical expression of love, but I’ve never heard of a city so pristine, virtually immaculate, while also having a robust street life that accommodates felines in such luxury. I'll guess I'll just have to see for myself someday.

If you see Kedi, you will seek out boxes of kitties on street corners forever condemning you to cute and cool little beings never more alluring than on the streets of Istanbul.

“Cats are the runes of beauty, invincibility, wonder, pride, freedom, coldness, self-sufficiency, and dainty individuality - the qualities of sensitive, enlightened, mentally developed, pagan, cynical, poetic, philosophic, dispassionate, reserved, independent, Nietzschean, unbroken, civilised, master-class men.” H. P. Lovecraft

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at