Monday, April 25, 2011

A Cat in Paris

In line at the SF International Film Festival on Sunday morning, I had a small girl in front of me & another in back of me, both saving places for their families. We were all waiting to see A Cat in Paris, a children's animated feature from France about a cat who spends his nights accompanying a nimble cat burglar & his days cuddling with a little girl whose father has been murdered by a dangerous crime boss. These worlds soon intersect, resulting in a series of exciting chases & rescues. I was totally swept up by the movie's fast-moving plot. The characters have a simplified, nearly abstract, design. It is their believable behavior that makes them real. The cat Dino is the most life-like, always behaving in an enigmatically cat-like way. The movie's terrific music evokes the symphonic scores of Bernard Herrmann. It is hard to imagine the film's anatomically correct Colossus of Nairobi appearing in a Disney or Pixar film. The 2 old ladies sitting next to me reacted as enthusiastically as the 2 little girls who bounded out of the theater in front of me. The festival is showing a version that is dubbed into English in a variety of American, British & European accents.

This program included an animated short, Specky Four Eyes. I easily identified with its hero, a small boy forced to wear a horribly thick pair of glasses. I too sometimes prefer taking off my glasses & seeing everything around me as a blur. The film is in French with English subtitles. An actor read the English subtitles aloud at the screening.

§ Une vie de chat
directors, Alain Gagnol & Jean-Loup Felicioli
France/Belgium/Netherlands/Switzerland, 2010, 65 min

Specky Four Eyes
director, Jean-Claude Rozec
France 2010, 9 min

San Francisco International Film Festival 54
Sun, Apr 24, 12:30 / Kabuki
Sun, May 1, 12:30 / New People

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