By Gregory Crofton
Want to see your cat trotting by and think ‘well … there goes my movie star?’ Watch “KEDI,” an 80-minute documentary about the cats and kittens that live, and live well, in Istanbul, Turkey, and you’ll understand what I mean.
Just a little more than month into its U.S. theatrical release at a limited number of arthouse spots and “KEDI” has already raked in nearly $2 million at the box office, according to Box Office Mojo, making it a hit in the world of documentaries.
The movie is about the people of Turkey treating their cats differently than in other places. Homeless cats aren’t strays, but rather lovable animals that might need a little food and attention from those they live around.
Director Ceyda Torun, who lived the first 11 years of her life in Turkey, began shooting the film in 2014. What she and her team came up with is a touching tribute to the delicate relationship between cats and people. Bookended with aerial shots of Istanbul, and fit with a delightful soundtrack, it’s also a travelogue of the ancient city. The doc leaves you feeling like you’ve just had a visit, watched for hours one of the seven cats featured in the film, and even found the time to sample a pastry.
One man in the film explains how caring for cats brought him back from a nervous breakdown years earlier. He totes plastic grocery bags filled with food to cats all over the city. They swarm around him in the streets, each providing the other with the love and companionship they need.
“KEDI” is from Oscilloscope Laboratories, a film distribution company founded by the late Beastie Boy Adam Yauch. You can pre-order a DVD and learn more about its release here.