A Cat in Paris

PhotobucketZoë is haunted by the death of her father. He was murdered by public enemy number one, Victor Costa, and the 7 year old hasn’t spoken since that fateful day. You see her father attempted to stop Victor from absconding with a giant statue called The Colossus of Nairobi. The object’s current transport to the museum is now being overseen by the Police Commissioner who just so happens to be Zoë’s mother.  Zoë is watched over by a mysterious nanny and her pet cat Dino, who keeps her company by day.  By night however, the cat retreats into the night to accompany a kindhearted and lonely jewel thief.

Delightful hand drawn cartoon has the appearance of the colorful Post-Impressionist work of French artists like Georges Seurat and Henri Rousseau with the elongated faces of Amedeo Modigliani thrown in for good measure. The art has an extremely simple, primitive look. Yet the bewitching style holds its own in today’s 3D CGI computer animated world. Witness the spectacle in the story’s final quarter where the lights go out.  Scenes in pitch blackness are artistically imagined as white chalk outlines on a black background.  It’s arresting in its simplicity.  The art has the two dimensional, traditional look that has all but vanished these days.

A Cat in Paris is a children’s book come to life, but with the surprisingly mature feel of an adult thriller. This has the complex machinations of classic suspense.  The cat really isn’t the focus of the film at all, but rather a device by which to interweave a myriad of plot threads involving human characters.  Indeed this could have been cast with human actors and succeeded better than most modern mysteries. One might question the morality of the script’s sympathetic portrayal of a burglar. Think Cary Grant in Hitchcock’s To Catch Thief.  He really has the little girl‘s best interest at heart, mind you. The production isn’t perfect, but it‘s close. Not a single frame is wasted as this mystery unfolds in a brisk 62 minutes. Illustrators Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli directed this comedy drama which put French studio Folimage in the spotlight.  This deservedly received an unexpected Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature in 2012.

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9 Responses to “A Cat in Paris”

  1. Nice review, Mark! I knew about the nom but had no idea what it was about. Thanks for clearing that up. Sounds very interesting.

  2. I’m intrigued by your review. I’m definitely going to see this movie. I hope it is as good as your review. You seem to have a command of Post-Impressionist French artists.

  3. Great review! I thought I’d heard of this one somewhere. I need to see it now. 🙂

  4. This was a good story. It was a quick and exciting. It definitely can be made in to live action. However, I would hope they’d revise the script, a little.

  5. I have never heard of this movie, but from your review I am eager to see this one. Thanks, and nice review.

  6. I’m really interested in seeing this film, even more so after reading your review! It’s a shame it’s not been very well advertised, I have only heard of it thanks to a film critic and the subsequent nominations it’s received.

    Hopefully I’ll get a chance to check this one out soon. Great review.

  7. smilingldsgirl Says:

    “A Cat in Paris is a children’s book come to life, but with the surprisingly mature feel of an adult thriller” very well said and I couldn’t agree more. I really loved this film- the artistry, story. My favorite part of it was the characters, particularly the Mother character who I thought wasn’t the typical stressed out working Mom. She was obsessed with this case but also kind of aware she’s neglecting her daughter but then trying to be a good Mother. She just wasn’t the typical stressed out single Mom.

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