A Cat In Paris (Une vie de chat, 2010)

Have you ever wondered where your cat might go while you sleep at night? Zoé (Oriane Zani) does, and she aims to find out for herself once and for all. Escaping the overpowering stench of her nanny’s perfume, Zoé follows Dino across rooftops to another building, where she discovers that her cat has been engaging in burglary with wanted thief Nico (Bruno Salomone). A police officer, Zoé’s mother (Dominique Blanc) is hot on the heals of the unsuspecting Nico when she learns that notorious gangster Victor Costa (Jean Benguigui) – the man responsible for her husband’s murder – is back in town. When Zoé encounters Costa one night while returning home, it is left to Jeanne and Nico to track them down before her daughter can come to any harm.

Following a warm reception at the 55th annual London Film Festival, Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol’s A Cat In Paris opened Dundee’s lesser known Discovery Film Festival to similarly rapturous response. Boasting a distinctive style of animation which reflects the animator’s appreciation of artists such as Picasso as much as it does the colourists’ decision to render the hand-drawn images in crayon rather than ink, there is an earthy quality to the film which gives it a far greater exoticism than the French setting or floating subtitles ever could.

And let me be clear: this is no tourist-eye-view of Paris. Aside from the occasional (but nevertheless striking) glimpse of city-scape, which shows off the film’s own glitzy depiction of the Eiffel Tower, this is an altogether more intimate portrayal of the French capital, only relocating to Notre Dame Cathedral in the film’s final, climactic moments. As beautiful as it is spectacular, the reveal is altogether more impacting than the landmark’s other recent appearance, beneath a CGI airship in the equally CGI The Three Musketeers.

Despite the film’s relatively simple, even crude design, A Cat In Paris is undoubtedly one of the most enchanting and charming children’s films of recent years. Born of the directors’ desire to shoot a thriller for children, the film’s rousing pace is testament to the filmmaker’s skill – left as they were with over 40,000 drawings to animate. As the story’s numerous threads begin to converge, the breathtaking alchemy of rich characterisation, textured artistry and beguiling wit (the bumbling henchmen are an absolute joy) results in one truly hair-raising finale.

Brisk, sleek and utterly delightful, A Cat In Paris is an engaging tale of triumph in the face of adversity that both plays on a child’s curiosity and their fear of the unknown. Harmlessly hackneyed and disarmingly straightforward, the film nevertheless builds up enough good-will to overcome its admittedly few flaws.

 

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to A Cat In Paris (Une vie de chat, 2010)

  1. Pingback: October 2011 – Relax, I interviewed a pilot once! « popcornaddict

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