We are clearly living in the darkest timeline. The world is falling apart beneath our feet and there is no hope. Luckily, Kedi is here to give us a respite for a little over an hour.
Kedi is a documentary about the street cats of Istanbul, but it is ultimately an excuse – a very good excuse – to watch a lot of cute cats doing cute cat things – it’s not quite YouTube, but it’s better. Full disclosure: this review was to originally be the word “kitty” written several hundred times, but let’s continue.
Kedi is part-kitty Koyaanisqatsi and part-examination of the feline-human interactions that take place within Istanbul, as a way to look at both general feline-human interactions and the urban growth of the large Turkish city. The human counterparts of the cats talk to interviewers about their relationships, which are interspersed with footage of cats walking the streets, interacting with people and each other, finding food, and just generally being adorable. The fact that this beautifully shot footage is gorgeous in so many ways – including exposing true human and animal personalities – is a bonus.
This is not to say that the doc is wholly apolitical. There are plenty of things to be said about animal companionship, animal welfare and the drawbacks of urban sprawl and modernization, with the occasional subtly-slash-unsubtle jab at Erdogan (one shot – that goes on longer than necessary – has a sticker in the background which reads “Erdo-gone”).
For once, however, the politics willfully take a backseat. Sometimes, the audience just needs to watch something beautiful and gentle to forget about their day-to-day stressors and political strife. You could try to choke down the latest family-friendly film about a dog who plays sports with a talking monkey, or you could watch one of the most beautiful documentaries in recent years. Your call!
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Shahbaz Khayambashi: @Shakhayam