A Cat in Paris
Review No. 377
The Bottom Line: A Cat in Paris isn’t revolutionary, but it’s a light, brief, memorable escapade.
Directed by: Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol
Written by: Alain Gagnol and Jacques-Rémy Girerd
English adaptation by: Michael Sinterniklaas
Voice Features (French): Bernadette Lafont, Bernard Bouillon Bruno Salomone, Dominique Blanc, Jacques Ramade, Jean Benguigui, Jean-Pierre Yvars, Oriane Zani, Patrick Descamps, Patrick Ridremont
Voice Features (English dubbing): Anjelica Huston, Barbara Goodson, Eric Bauza, Gregory Cupoli, JB Blanc, Lauren Weintraub, Marcia Gay Harden, Marc Thompson, Matthew Modine, Mike Pollock, Philippe Hartmann, Steve Blum
Distributed by Gébéka Films in France on December 15, 2010; and by GKIDS in the United States on June 1, 2012. Produced in French by France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Belgium. Alternate English dubbing produced by the United States. Runs 70 minutes. Rated PG by the MPAA for mild violence and action, and some thematic material.
A Cat in Paris was watched on December 25, 2012.
“Time spent with cats is never wasted.” –Sigmund Freud
I’m not very much a “cat person.” Even if I weren’t allergic, I don’t think I would truly enjoy cats. What is there to love about an animal that sleeps when it’s tired and squeals when it wants something? Some people seem as if they’d know the answer, but I much prefer dogs–instinctive, intelligent, and wholly amusing characters.
The black cat we find in A Cat in Paris has a surprisingly canine nature. This cat is adventurous and ambitious, roaming around the city of Paris every night, alongside a burglar, as if to assist him. During the daytime, the cat is owned by a young girl named Zoé. By mere accident, le chat returns one morning with evidence of crimes that occurred over the previous night; now a mystery has been presented to young Zoé, and she becomes determined to solve it within the next day.
A Cat in Paris was released to U.S. film festivals in 2011 for Oscar eligibility; the film ended up earning a nomination for Best Animated Feature. This is proof that when the Academy looks for the year’s Best Animated Feature, they’re merely gathering all the animated flicks of the year and choosing the five best made. Especially for a hand drawn animation, A Cat in Paris encases minimal style and maximal substance. There clearly isn’t much thought given to the visual art beyond the rough sketching.
The film’s point is perhaps to inform that the real art is in the story. Simply reading of the plot summary, this sounds like the sort of crime piece Martin Scorsese would try and get his hands on. After seeing the film, I can only imagine him scoffing at it. No, that’s not to say A Cat in Paris is terrible, it just isn’t that sort of crime film. This is a more lighthearted escapade, in which crime is dealt with a sense of humor, and each burglar is an amusing comic. It’s a giddy, childlike tale, aimed at children, but enjoyable at just about any age.
A Cat in Paris is a fun film. The animation isn’t exactly picturesque, nor is the story, but the former is used as a mere outline, and the latter as a rejuvenating extrapolation.
The music is of perfect quality, too, embellishing an even deeper mood, setting up along the lines of a conventional film-noir.
Where the film hits a few flat notes is in its screenplay. At just 70 minutes, and just over 58 minutes if one were to exclude the credits, A Cat in Paris is extremely short, yet it feels slightly overlong. This strange conundrum derives from an overextended ending. I’m fine with about ten minutes of nonsensical chase scenes, but after that, the joke begins to wear thin. But on a complete spectrum, I wouldn’t continue complaining about a conclusion that was doubled in its acceptable length.
Overall, I had quite a fun time with A Cat in Paris, enough that I’d recommend it to anyone who reads this. It’s not perfect, but if it does disappoint you, it wasn’t even an hour of your life you threw away.