Hundreds of thousands of cats roam the metropolis of Istanbul freely. For thousands of years they have wandered in and out of people’s lives, becoming an essential part of the communities that make the city so rich. Claiming no owners, these cats live between two worlds, neither wild nor tame. Yet, their existence is deeply intertwined with the lives of their human counterparts, who see themselves as guardians, rather than owners, of their four-legged friends. The word “kedi” literally translates as “cat” and in Turkish culture it is understood that caring for these animals is a social and religious obligation.
Ceyda Torun’s delectable film uses specially crafted camera rigs and an extreme measure of observational patience, to capture all of the hard-to-reach places where cats go and offers an absorbing cat’s-eye view of the colours, textures and pace of modern Istanbul. There is an estimated ratio of one-cat-per-person in Istanbul and, if Kedi is any indication, not one has ever gone unloved. However, Turkish cats are faced with the same problems of gentrification and loss of green space that most major cities’ inhabitants are experiencing.
Critics agree this cat documentary will charm its way into your heart and home as you fall in love with the cats of Istanbul.
“I am a cat owner, I admit, but even I was surprised at the power of Kedi. Where did all that emotion come from? It’s because what Torun really captures in her unexpectedly powerful film is kindness in its purest form.” (Sheila O’Malley, RogerEbert.com)
“[A] splendidly graceful and quietly magical documentary.” (Joe Leydon, Variety)
“Delightful and visually splendid.” (Stephanie Zacharek, Time)