A Cat in Paris | Movie review
A house cat lives a double life in this French animated charmer.
The nocturnal activities of house cats—particularly those with outdoor privileges—hold a special fascination for the children who own them. Where does your precious pet run off to when the sun goes down and the city lights come on? The gorgeously hand-drawn French import A Cat in Paris offers one fantastical theory. Giving new meaning to the term cat burglar, domesticated feline Dino lives a secret life of crime. By day, he lounges in the cozy living room of a single mother and her spunky young daughter. By night, he slinks across rooftops and into open windows, moonlighting as the pint-sized accomplice of a Parisian jewel thief.
A surprise contender at this year’s Academy Awards—it lost the Animated Feature Oscar to Rango—this kiddie (and kitty) noir caters to cartoon lovers of all ages. The Art Deco backdrops, sweeping score and stylized vision of urban nightlife call to mind Batman: The Animated Series. (Twentysomething caped-crusader fans may get a warmer buzz of nostalgia here than they will at The Dark Knight Rises.) Whisker-thin at just over an hour, A Cat in Paris also packs in a surprising number of genre-cinema shout-outs; the mobster villain, for example, takes offense as quickly as Joe Pesci does in Goodfellas and doles out code names like Lawrence Tierney in Reservoir Dogs. The Siskel is showing the film in both an English-dubbed video transfer and a subtitled 35mm print. The latter format is ideal for such a lushly animated gem—provided, of course, you’re not chaperoning early readers.