There are worse ways to rot your brain than Kedi

Film | by Jorge Ignacio Castillo

The Roxy
Opens March 31
3 out of 5

The metropolis has risen and fallen a number of times, yet the cats endure.

Anyone who visits Istanbul will notice the large number of stray cats on the streets. These kitties are utterly comfortable with the city’s hustle and bustle, and they’re well cared for even despite being free-ranging felines.

Kedi (“cat” in Turkish) is a documentary that follows seven moggies (not specific breeds) as they go through their day. There’s Aslan, a black and white cat who keeps the rats at bay at a touristy restaurant; Duman, who only eats gourmand food; Sari, a hustler who won’t let her three kittens go hungry; Psikopat… you can figure that one out.

Director Ceyda Torum links each cat to the humans who project their emotional hang-ups onto them. From companionship to freedom, Istanbul dwellers sure appreciate the furry balls of indifference. Karma being a common belief, good will towards kitties is the standard.

Kedi pays lip service to some interesting ideas (dealing with cats makes easier to accept death) but doesn’t develop them. The film hints at the possibility that the growing number of skyscrapers my hurt the feline population, but doesn’t provide any data to support the thesis. The most stirring scene seems accidental: As one of the kitties is fed a gourmet dish, a girl panhandles in the background.

Luckily for Kedi, cats are eminently watchable creatures, no matter how many tedious platitudes we have to listen to. The pussies have distinct and compelling personalities and are cute as heck. It’s an entertaining way to spend an hour and 15 minutes. Just don’t expect much insight. ❧