Sunday, August 5, 2012


The charm of imagination fills the art work and the soundtrack of the French animation film “A Cat in Paris,” now playing at the Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. While Pixar currently reigns as the king of kid movies that tug on adult heartstrings, this “Cat” tale in French with subtitles will be mostly appreciated by grown-ups.
Postmodern in style, though laced with a 1950s sensibility (and period jazz to accent the drama), the mood easily carries a chuckling grace that can quickly neutralize one’s own cynicism. We know acting like a properly dressed and responsible person can become rather tiresome – especially after 5 p.m on weekdays.

Co-directors Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol begin with a concept I have always loved: that cats often live private lives far more elaborate than anything we might guess about. Especially if they are jazz cats like Dino.

By day, Dino lazes around in the sunny apartment of Jeanne, her sad daughter Zoe and their housekeeper Claudine. But at night, wide-awake Dino zips off to the lesser neighborhood of Nico, a burglar who scampers across Paris rooftops with the quickness of a cat – and Dino is right there step for step.

Zoe is always sad because her police detective father was recently murdered by crime boss Victor Costa. Now it is Jeanne, also a detective, who is in charge of bringing Costa to justice.

However, all that is backstory as we watch how innocently Nico the good-hearted cat burglar and then Zoe are drawn into the conflict.

With a running time of only 67 minutes, “A Cat in Paris” unfolds with an elegant economy of narration that is never confusing. Nor is it condescending.

Zoe may be practically catatonic over her father’s violent death, but she can’t help giving in to her own youthful curiosity and, ultimately, her determination to demand justice, as well.

Costa and his gang of criminals get a more cartoonish portrayal, but Felicioli and Gagnol are serious artists who value balance in their work.

Earlier this year “A Cat in Paris” received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature. It should have won.

No comments:

Post a Comment