What I Watched: Une Vie de Chat
The midnight zoomies. Cat owners, I’m guessing you might know what this means. Tipped cups. Crinkly jingle toys. Crashes. Bangs. Booms. No plant, drink, or twisty tie is safe from the paws of a kitty in the middle of the night. My two fur-children chase after each other up and down the stairs, spinning, pouncing, and tackling on every floor. Some nights, they are particularly naughty in an effort to wake us to feed or play with them. Ever the nocturnal creatures, I am always amused that my feline friends love to party at 2am. Sleep during the day, burst to life at night. Cats certainly have their own joie de vivre, don’t they?
Cat parents, do your purr-fect critters enjoy the night as well?
In Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol’s Oscar-nominated animation, Une Vie de Chat (also known as, A Cat in Paris), one kitty leads an extraordinarily interesting double life in the night. Dino goes beyond the zoomies. Every night, this Parisian feline briefly departs from his family to aid Nico, an expert cat burglar. These nocturnal escapades across rooftops and behind allies in the city of light yield a bounty of stolen treasures. Dino’s family is none-the-wiser, which is ironic given that Dino’s owner, Jeanne, is a respected police superintendent.
However, tragedy in Jeanne’s personal life currently distracts her from the intricacies of her kitty’s midnight whereabouts. Losing her husband and fellow police officer during a crime raid at the hands a local lunatic mobster, Victor Costa, Jeanne becomes obsessed with vengeance. Her focus centers on Costa’s capture and justice for her beloved departed husband. As well-intended as Jeanne’s intense motives may be, her other relationships begin to suffer, particularly with her little daughter, Zoë.
Zoë is going through her own struggles, as she grapples to cope with her father’s murder. Mute from the trauma of losing a cherished parent, she turns to her whiskered solace, Dino, who treats Zoë to gifts of dead lizards and stolen jewelry in an effort to cheer her. Curious of Dino’s nighttime excursions, and doubly hurt by Jeanne’s inadvertent neglect, Zoë decides to follow Dino one night, only to accidently stumble into a nightmarish adventure that leads her right into Victor Costa’s grasp.
Une Vie de Chat is a stunningly illustrated thriller that lightly confronts children with the possibility of loss and danger but not enough to scare or cause nightmares. This is a film both adults and children can enjoy together. The classically subdued, bluesy soundtrack is catered to a more mature audience, featuring Billie Holiday’s, I wished on the Moon. The song is actually featured in my favorite scene, which tours us through one of Nico and Dino’s burglaries.
At any rate, whether you’re wondering what mischief your kitties are making while your sleep, or if you are simply looking for a unique movie to watch while you snuggle on the couch with your sweeties, Une Vie de Chat will hold your attention and warm your heart.
You should go watch it right meow.
À la prochaine!