A Cat in Paris
Directed by: Jean-Loup Felicioli & Alain Gagnol.
Written by: Alain Gagnol & Jacques-Rémy Girerd.
Starring: Dominique Blanc (Jeanne), Bruno Salomone (Nico), Jean Benguigui (Victor Costa), Bernadette Lafont (Zoé's Nanny), Oriane Zani (Zoé), Bernard Bouillon (Lucas).
When the Oscar nominees were announced last year, the Belgium film A Cat in Paris surprised many by being nominated for Best Animated Film. Having seen the film now, I am even more surprised, as I found the entire film to be rather thin, and not very involving. Yes, it has some charming moments – and the animation has a certain flair to it – but overall, this was just an exercise in style.
The plot centers of Zoe, a young girl living in Paris with her mother, Jeanne, who is the police superintendent. Zoe’s father was killed by a gangster named Victor Costa, and Jeanne has been trying to prove it ever since. Zoe has taken to stop talking since her father’s death – her only friends her seemingly nice Nanny, and her cat Dino – who unbeknownst to everyone, leads a double life. At night, Dino sneaks out and accompanies a cat burglar – Nico – on his jobs. While following Dino one day, Zoe not only discovers his secret – but also her Nanny’s, and falls into the clutches of Victor. Nico, car burglar though he may be – is not that bad of guy, and tries to save her.
A Cat in Paris has its charms – it falls with film noir conventions at times, and there are some wonderfully choreographed chase sequences over the roofs of Paris – including the climax, which ends up at Notre Dame. And while I liked the character animation – which uses some bold geometry to create the characters, there was a constant flickering of shadows across everyone’s faces that I found to be rather distracting.
Overall, I’d say that at best, A Cat in Paris is an interesting, mildly amusing distraction. It is charming in fits and starts, but it never really adds up to anything.