So there are these cats. Lots of them, living freely on the streets of Istanbul. They all have a backstory, willingly told by the people who know them best. Cats being cats, interacting with other cats and with people, to an unusual soundtrack and flawless photography. Kedi is quite a documentary.
All of them have names. Psycho, Carefree, and Duman the Perfect Gentleman are the ones I remember. They come when called, sometimes, but are free to come and go. Most of the businesses in the street scenes have an open door policy. Some cats are shooed away but they always come back. The people are resigned to this, and secretly grateful.
These cats live on boats, in warehouses, in stone walls, on roofs and in cellars. Wherever they can. Sometimes they mingle with actual house cats, eat their food and leave without a how-do-you-do.
Fights over territory are not uncommon, even a “stay away from my man!” reminder from Psycho, who treats her ‘husband’ terribly but reacts like a angry snake when a pretty newcomer meows at him.
The animals look very healthy. Some see the local vet on a regular basis; the business owners foot the bill, sometimes using the tip jar as a kitty healthcare fund. Lots of kittens, some orphaned, some not, light up the screen.
There is one tragedy. One small kitten, banged up from a fight and unresponsive, is delivered to a caring human. He takes it to the vet for emergency treatment, but we never learn the outcome. I hope the little guy made it.
All told, seven cats are profiled, along with the people who see to their wellbeing. The Turkish dialogue is translated into easy-to-read subtitles, so we always know what’s going on. And the music – an eclectic mix of street music, cool jazz, and what might be 60’s pop music – made me smile more than once; a perfect companion to the sights and sounds of the city.
Go see Kedi. I’m hoping it comes around to Netflix eventually so I can see it again. I like these cats, and kind of miss them already.