Kedi (Nine Lives – Cats in Istanbul) – film review

Kedi is a Turkish documentary film about the cats roaming the streets of Istanbul. We are introduced by name to several cats and their human servants . Each cat has a different lifestyle and habits, be it saving a local restaurant from rats, acquiring milk from a bakery, or a special way of pawing at the door. The humans who are interviewed predictably vary in their descriptions of their feline friends ­: some insist cats are just like humans, some glorify in how different they are from us. The film features beautiful shots of Istanbul and its gorgeous sleek felines with Turkish music tastefully playing in the background. The narration is unobtrusive and the photography is allowed to stand on its own strength.

I had been concerned that it would be a documentary about the brutality of cat street life (as I heard the film was part of a campaign to save Istanbul’s street cats), but I needn’t have worried ­– only one cat is shown injured throughout the film.

I have never been to Istanbul, although I’ve been thinking about going there for quite some time. However, from my four holiday visits to Turkey I did acquire a great fondness for the graceful and cheeky Turkish street cats who usually managed to acquire quite a healthy breakfast from scraps the tourists left behind at the holiday resorts. So this movie was perhaps particularly relaxing for me. It is a love letter to cats and Istanbul –  and a delightfully relaxing watch. Enjoy.

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