Sweet, loving, and filled with beautiful visuals of cats and the surprisingly moving and fanciful thoughts of those who know them, this documentary scores on multiple levels. Cat-lovers will be instantly charmed by Kedi's cat's-eye-level cinematography, which must have been filmed by someone literally lying on the ground. It turns the cats into the stars of the film, while people are mostly a jumble of legs, occasionally popping into the frame for a few minutes to relate stories or anecdotes about "their" neighborhood cat: how the cat came to hang around, what he or she eats, the things they notice about the cat's behavior, and their effect on the humans around them.
These humans love their cat friends so much that it's beautiful to watch. "She nearly passes out when you pet her," says a shopkeeper, scratching his furry friend on her chest. "That's the spot!" he smiles, talking over the cat's thunderous purr and telling her "you really know how to live." They do. The Istanbul cats are fierce and wild, stealing food from stores, begging at restaurants, preying on mice, birthing litters of kittens in cardboard boxes and abandoned basements, competing with each other. But they're lovely, and loved too, by people who are happy to let them roam free and to see them each day. "Having a relationship with cats must be a lot like being friends with aliens," says one interviewee. "You make contact with a very different life form." We're just glad that this life-affirming documentary gives us a chance to look and listen in on that life form for a while.