A Cat in ParisDecember 15, 2010
A thrilling mystery that unfurls in the alleys and on the rooftops of the French capital, Paris, over the course of one adventurous evening.
Release Year: 2010
Rating: 6.9/10 (1,298 voted)
Stars: Dominique Blanc, Bruno Salomone, Jean Benguigui
Dino is a cat that leads a double life. By day, he lives with Zoe, a little girl whose mother, Jeanne, is a police officer. By night, he works with Nico, a burglar with a big heart. Zoe has plunged herself into silence following her father's murder at the hands of gangster Costa. One day, Dino the cat brings Zoe a very valuable bracelet. Lucas, Jeanne's second-in-command, notices this bracelet is part of a jewelery collection that has been stolen. One night, Zoe decides to follow Dino. On the way, she overhears some gangsters and discovers that her nanny is part of the gangsters' team.
Writers: Alain Gagnol, Alain Gagnol
By Day Child's Pet, By Night Dangerous Thief.
Release Date: 15 December 2010
Opening Weekend: €5,846
(19 December 2010)
Did You Know?
This film was one of a number of movies that were in competition at the 2012 Academy Awards that was related to France and French culture in some way. The films included
Midnight in Paris,
The Adventures of Tintin,
Puss in Boots from the French fairy-tale by Charles Perrault,
Rise of the Planet of the Apes based on the novel by Pierre Boulle and
A Cat in Paris. Interestingly though, there was no French film nominated for the Best Foreign Film Academy Award (Oscar) in 2012.
Sur les Toits de Paris
I thoroughly enjoyed this film: in one sense it's an animated spoof of
a classic thriller genre, in another it's a charming entertainment —
and it contains a very well observed cat! Like the B-movies to which it
nods, it packs a vast amount of action into its 65-minute running time,
leavening action with humour (the splatted dog is a classic cartoon gag
— but it's a tribute to the emotional realism of the film that later
on the audience was actually worried that it had come to serious harm)
and parody with genuine feeling: the gangsters discussing food are a
homage to Quentin Tarantino, but the bereaved Jeanne's battles with the
cartoon-Costa of her imagination put a quiver in my stiff upper lip.
And the clambering up and down the face of Notre-Dame is a pure paean
to Paris… and to the Hunchback!
There are two apparently separate stories going at the start: the
little girl with a workaholic single mother, plus the night-time
adventures of her cat. But neither of them is quite what it seems —
the neglectful mother in particular is a much more sympathetic
character than we initially assume — and both strands rapidly
intertwine with a gangster thriller plot. This may be an animated
adventure, but it has more than enough depth for adults as well as
children: in fact, I suspect the tension may be a little too much for
small children. One little boy in the row in front of me had to be
carried out howling that he wanted to go home.
The style of animation is — deliberately — extremely crude:
characters are drawn in the simplest of outlines, although I noticed
that the cat movement and postures, for all the crudity of the shapes,
were extremely well done. (Take the scene, for example, when the cat is
sprawled in Nico's room — or when it disdainfully opens just one slit
of an eye as Claudine rages at it!) And almost all the action takes
place at night or by artificial lighting, heightening the child's
storybook appearance of the art. This is clearly a consciously retro
aesthetic: I was amused to note that the brand of paper used in making
all the drawings got its own entry in the credit listing at the end of
What really grated on me, for some reason, was the depiction of the
feet (I had the same problem with DreamWorks' Sinbad animation). The
characters in this film have incredibly tiny triangular feet which seem
always to be drawn from the same angle no matter which way the rest of
the body is pointing, and I found it visually disturbing to have the
perspective so obviously all wrong…
A bonus feature was the fluent idiomatic English translation in the
subtitles, at least in the London Film Featival version: it makes a
welcome change from translations obviously aimed at the American
market. (And it's always fun to back-translate the insults: within the
limits of my vocabulary of French vituperation, some pretty apt
equivalents seemed to have been chosen!)
I'm tempted to rate this at 9 out of ten, but I don't think it has
quite enough depth for that level: I'll compromise and knock a point
off for the annoyance of the feet, leaving it at a very solid 8.