A Cat in Paris (2011) – Alain Gagnol, Jean-Loup Felicioli

A Cat in Paris is a delightful but temporary experience that happens in the short 62 minutes the film runs and it’s hard to find too much to complain about but then it ends and you’re staring at a blank screen with nothing to write about really, reagarding what you’ve just seen. Or at least that was my experience.

If I’m being forced, I’d say that A Cat in Paris  is uneven, it won’t commit to being a murder mystery or a light family comedy and therefore the audience can hardly be expected to commit to liking it. The plot is about a little girl who becomes embroiled in an art theft attempted by a nasty man (the same man who murdered her father) and along the way she befriends a cat burglar and his cat. The friendship between the girl in the burglar is fine but the filmmakers overstuff it with bizarrely juxtaposed elements. On top of the dead father subplot, there’s another involving the little girls’ police detective mother and her emotional trauma with the death of her husband. Both plot points could be cut, parents aren’t needed in a story like this and the father’s death adds nothing. The villain who we must accept as a bad man so comic in the way he looks and behaves, and he’s discussed at the police station in completely two dimensional clichéd terms like “This is public enemy number 1.” What is the point of veering into dark territory as the movie does? I suppose to fill out a longer running time and even then it only gets to a little over an hour. A Cat in Paris would have been better served as a short.

Still, I liked the animation style quite a bit, though clearly created on computers, there they are made to look handdrawn and they give the impression of imperfection and kinectic movement that can be achieved with traditional animation. And there is a chase scene at night in a zoo and on a river that looks like something out of Van Gogh and is quite lovely. And another sequence in the dark where characters are represented like chalk outlines. There’s enough here to occupy one’s time, certainly on a stylistic level, and because of its slight running time, perhaps on a story level too, but I’m not so sure about that.

Leave a Reply