GKIDS' Oscar nominated A CAT IN PARIS is held over a fifth week in NYC, and will be opening a gaggle of new markets Friday including DC, Boston, Minneapolis, Denver, St. Louis, Atlanta, Portland, among many others.
To see National release schedule, click here!
"A Cat in Paris" is a nifty little caper in which blustery gangsters, intrepid detectives, cat burglars (one of them literally feline) and a little girl named Zoé scamper across nighttime rooftops unraveling a pleasantly tangled plot. The film, directed by the French animation team of Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol, is also a refreshing reminder, at a time of large-scale, highly polished cinematic spectacle, of the essential, elemental sources of movie-watching pleasure.
A movie is a story told in pictures; a cartoon, however digitally torqued and dimensionally expanded, is essentially a bunch of drawings. The images in "A Cat in Paris" are pointedly and delightfully off-kilter and out of proportion. Feet are much too small for bodies. Perspectives shift and slide. Apparently solid objects have a tendency to wobble. The laws of physics are brazenly flouted as Mr. Felicioli and Mr. Gagnol take splendid advantage of the freedom that animation can offer to the hand, the eye and the imagination. But amid the anarchy are also rigor, an attention to emotional nuance and narrative detail that make the film satisfying as well as charming.
The cat, Dino, divides his time between two human companions. At night, he is the accomplice to an honorable, nimble thief named Nico. When morning comes, he snuggles up with Zoé, bringing her freshly killed lizards (and in one instance a freshly stolen bracelet) as tribute. Zoé lives with her overworked mother, Jeanne, and is looked after by a suspiciously outgoing housekeeper. Jeanne is a police detective, as was her husband, killed in the line of duty by Victor Costa, a criminal mastermind currently plotting a big-time art heist. Since her father's death, Zoé has not spoken a word, but her face - a minimal composition of a few lines and circles topped by a curve of orange hair - expresses all the feelings of a lonely, sensitive child.
Like a fairy tale heroine, Zoé is drawn into a wild and dangerous adventure that tests her resourcefulness and rewards her sound moral instincts. The plot has the pleasing complexity of a mechanical toy - the pieces click together nicely, and the whole contraption zigzags according to its own whimsical logic - and the filmmakers find many opportunities for mildly surrealist visual invention. When the lights go out, characters turn into chalk outlines on a black background. Fantasies occasionally take literal form, as when Jeanne imagines her nemesis, Costa, as a giant red octopus. Costa himself suffers a hallucination that turns "A Cat in Paris" briefly into a monster movie. The close-set, odd-angled buildings of Paris are lovingly rendered, as are the gargoyles of Notre Dame, who solemnly observe a climactic sequence of high-altitude score settling.
Children watching "A Cat In Paris" may experience a few moments of fright and sorrow - there is gunfire, and Dino's murder of innocent lizards is celebrated rather than condemned - but they are also likely to be captivated by its elegant mixture of gravity and mischief. As are adults, since there is very little of the noisy, sentimental pandering that is too often a feature of kid-targeted entertainment nowadays. This movie is graceful, subtle and sure-footed, much as its English title implies