Your Cat's Distant Relatives

A feline interaction in Istanbul. A feline interaction in Istanbul.

Has a stray cat ever followed you home? If so, you know how the incident flatters you and makes you wonder why the animal chose you over others. You feel obliged, if not to take it in, then at least to see that a neighbor or a shelter does. If you feed the feline, you may have to resort to a can of tuna if you don’t already have cats, and if you do, it can be a delicate situation to introduce them to each other. Complicated. And it makes you think about how many other cats and kittens out there are wanderers, and what will become of all of them, even if you are able to take this one new friend out of that desperate situation.


Now, if you lived in Istanbul, Turkey, you would probably interact with many stray cats on a daily basis, as there are hundreds of thousands of them roaming the city, each with a personality of its own. That’s the subject of the documentary Kedi, directed by Ceyda Torun, playing at Frontier (14 Maine St., Brunswick) this weekend. Tickets are inexpensive, going for $8, $7 for students and seniors.


Both cat lovers and curious film fans say they love Kedi. The film has earned a 97% positive rating on And movie critics from major outlets seem quite fond of the documentary as well. Glenn Kenny of the New York Times says, “The movie is replete with ingeniously constructed mini-narratives, including a turf war. The mesmerizing score by Kira Fontana, interspersed with well-chosen Turkish pop, is a real asset.” The mini-narratives he refers to range from heartwarming to hilarious to strange. One tabby is so particular that she never enters the restaurant where she can be found each day, though welcome, but frantically signals by jumping and scratching when she needs something edible. The neat ‘cat’s eye view’ camera follows her mad dash through crowds and obstacles to where she has hidden a litter of mewling kittens, now the recipients of the tasty treat. This is just one of many glimpses into unique feline life dramas.


Another reviewer, Peter Keough of the Boston Globe (and former Phoenix contributor), sums up the collective attitude of the Istanbul feral cats thusly: “The animals seem untroubled by humane societies who want to find them homes or neuter them, and enjoy a symbiotic relationship with people, being fed, coddled, and petted by those who see in cats an almost mystical presence.” Most Phoenix readers who have turned to this column will be familiar with that mystery behind feline eyes. Celebrate it by going to see Kedi.


Frontier: or 207-725-5222.

Last modified onMonday, 29 May 2017 16:47