Kedi (Torun, 2016)

I would say I’m more of a dog person than a cat person (even though, in another life, my current personality would be more catlike than doglike), but Kedi is very hard to resist either way. Overloaded with cuteness, this short and sweet documentary introduces us to the stray cat population of Istanbul in the best way possible: profiling some of the more rambunctious feline personalities there. Ceyda Torun gives them all starring roles, lowering the camera down to their level as they prowl the streets looking for food and fun (and sometimes getting into fights along the way). Some of them have “owners” (I use the term loosely, since most of them are willing to let the cats do as—and go where—they please), but they’re not there to steal the show. Most end up praising their cats, philosophizing about their importance in their lives, and generally putting out good, animal-loving vibes. At any rate, the cats are front and centre, and Torun has fun trying to keep up with their hijinks.

Not sure if this is essential viewing, and its message is not entirely clear because it somehow seems to double as a tourism ad for Istanbul when Torun goes in for grand, sweeping overhead shots. I think cat lovers will get a big kick out of this; others will probably appreciate its humanistic tone more so than the animals. I dug both aspects very much. Cats are mesmerising animals, and it warmed my heart to see such collective goodwill in taking care of them.

Now I’m ready for the sequel: Doggi. Someone make it happen. Pronto.