Last year’s Kedi, one of the best films of the year, showed us just how much potential there is in cat documentaries. This year, CBC Docs attempted to follow that nascent tradition in Canada with Catwalk: Tales from the Catshow Circuit, a study of people and their pets who participate in such performances. And, yes, there’s a healthy dose of cute cat action.
Catwalk follows the paths of Bobby and Ohh-la-la, two cats fighting for supremacy in the cat show world. If that sounds ridiculous, it’s because it kind of is. There is a real inherent absurdity on play here, but it is perhaps not as ridiculous as it could be: the oddity of things is not overplayed, coming wholly from the reactions of the people involved.
What’s interesting is that the absurdity never comes across as exploitative. Filmmakers Michael McNamara (The Trick with the Gun) and Aaron Hancox never mock their subjects, showing a real empathy for a niche group of individuals who share this hobby, even though they frequently come across as the participants in Christopher Guest’s Best in Show (seriously, if you have seen Guest’s film, this doc is a revelation).
Catwalk: Tales from the Catshow Circuit is not particularly artistic or groundbreaking, but it is still genuinely enjoyable – especially if you like the idea of looking at cute kitties for 70-some-odd minutes.
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Shahbaz Khayambashi: @Shakhayam