Directed by: Ceyda Torun
Produced by: Ceyda Torun, Charlie Wuppermann
Starring: Bülent Üstün
Music by: Kira Fontana
Cinematography: Alp Korfali, Charlie Wuppermann.
Dedicated to the street cats and the people of Istanbul who look after them, Kedi is a surprisingly philosophical film.
I’m a cat lover, always have been. From catching wild kittens out on the farm to forever walking around with cat fluff on my clothes, no matter how much time I spend de-fluffing, there’s always my cat, Cloud’s (AKA Ching, Chong, Chunk’s) signature silver fluff adorning my outfit.
So, I went into Kedi thinking I was walking into a documentary about the culture of Istanbul and the history/relationship of the people with the wild cats who have roamed the streets for over 1000 years: Kedi is so much more and runs far deeper than a history lesson.
What really absorbed me into this film was not the cats but the people who have a relationship with one or many of them.
These are street cats who roam freely around the city but for some reason, they decide to adopt a particular human for food, affection and love. To then become part of the family. It’s not the people who are helping the cats, it’s the cats who are helping the people.
One man shared he had a nervous breakdown where no medication could help. But when he started feeding the street cats he began to talk and laugh again.
There’s a real depth to the relationships between the people and these wild cats. Leading to discussion about the personality of the cat to statements about the meaning of life.
And how cats are so different to us that they’re like aliens or even superheros with amazing powers, to climb and jump up seemingly impossible places and to always land on their feet. Yet, we are still able to build a relationship with these bizarre creatures.
The cinematography allows the audience to get up close to the cats, to show the wild nature of their eyes, to follow them around to see their independence and freedom while lounging on the edge of a terrace five stories up, to the street level to see the demand for attention, for love or food or a passer-by wanting to touch their fur and giving them a pat.
It’s fascinating to see this indulgence and to see how tame the street cats really are, which leads to the contemplation of the people and how they reflect about their own lives when relating to their adopted pets.
I always thought of cats particularly when travelling overseas solo, as friends, and finding comfort when one decides to hang out on a chair next to me, keeping me company on my journey.
Kedi opens another layer, allowing the people of Istanbul to talk about their world view and the impact these roaming cats have had on their lives. I could see the warmth of the people and their indulgence, the cats allowing their sense of adventure and humour to shine through, because these cats wouldn’t be adopting them otherwise.
A beautiful film about humanity and a realistic portrait of the day-to-day lives of the residents of Istanbul. All captured with some crafty camera work.
A surprisingly thought-provoking film.