A Cat in Paris ***HH***

It’s been a while since I’ve done an actual movie review. The TV ads and the posters I’ve seen are so sexist, its been hard for me to get myself to an actual theater. But I’ve wanted to see “A Cat in Paris” ever since it received an Academy Award nomination. (I was so thrilled that “Tintin” didn’t get nominated.)

I really liked “A Cat in Paris.” So, for the most part, did my kids (ages 3, 6, 9)

Here’s the summary from imdb.com:

In Paris, a cat who lives a secret life as a cat burglar’s aide must come to the rescue of Zoe, the little girl he lives with, after she falls into a gangster’s clutches.

The cat, the star of the movie and the character in the title, is male. But the movie has three strong female characters: the mom, her daughter Zoe, and her Nanny. They still are a Minority Feisty because the whole band of bad guys, led by the evil Costa, are all male. The hero cat burglar is also male.

I was particularly fascinated by the mom character. She is a superintendent, a police detective who is definitely the boss in this movie. I loved that my kids got to see a professional woman be smart and in charge, take risks and engage in all kids of brave acts. There are fantasy sequences where the mom fights a giant, red octopus that are really cool. I did have some issues: there is the cliche of working mom neglecting her child and the evil nanny. The mom’s breasts were also distracting to me, though my kids, who often comment on the the way females– animated and actual–  wiggle their butts on TV, didn’t mention anything about the mom’s anatomy. There is also an idol, a piece of art, with a distracting penis. Don’t get scared. The movie is French, people. My kids didn’t mention the phallic symbol either.

Zoe doesn’t speak for most of the movie, and at first that annoyed me, and annoyed my three year old as well. (MAMA, WHY DOESN’T SHE TALK? followed by frustrated tears.) But by the end of the movie, Zoe is speaking, so I look at “A Cat in Paris” as the story of how she gets her voice back, and that’s pretty cool.

The animation in this movie is spectacular and the images of Paris are gorgeous.

This movie was just released on DVD, and I liked it so much that I bought it.

Reel Girl rates “A Cat in Paris” ***HH***

5 thoughts on “A Cat in Paris ***HH***

  1. Hey Margot,
    We just saw Cat in Paris 2 days ago and my kids (daughter 7 1/2, son 11) adored it completely. My daughter anticipated the girl would get her voice back after something big happened to her, but not until after I explained she lost it due to the trauma of her father’s death. (we always have to hit ‘pause’ quite a bit:-))
    As you said I argue with the working mom/evil nanny bit especially when the mother totally ignores the girl’s (silent) fight not to be left alone with the nanny. The mom only came to her senses because a MAN threatened her. Hmmm.
    At any rate, overall I think it’s girl positive.
    We love the Japanese anime ones you’ve listed too. My son totally digs them without even realizing they are “girl centric”, which is a bonus in my estimation. Subliminal girl power:-)
    Spreading your list far and wide….

    • Hi Cherie,

      So glad your kids and you liked “Cat in Paris.” A similar beautiful animation style is in “Secret of Kells” which is also a good story. There is a male protagonist so it doesn’t make my list, but there is a great female character ( a typical “Minority Feisty”)

      Thank you for spreading the list!

      Margot

  2. “Zoe doesn’t speak for most of the movie, and at first that annoyed me, and annoyed my three year old as well. ”

    That’s what I found so refreshing about the movie… and about European animation in general… so many animated movies these days in the States focus WAAAAYY too much on what the characters say instead of letting the ANIMATION drive the story (imagine that!) instead of the characters jabbering non-stop and spoon-feeding the audience information through unneeded exposition.

    A CAT IN PARIS is one of those great animated movies that you can turn off the sound and totally still tell what’s going on… that’s a rare thing today. The dialogue that is there is well written (also a rare thing) but the movie is driven by the animation… not the other way around,

    Honestly, I’m this close to saying “screw American animation” all together. Europe is where it’s at for good animated movies. The Europeans treat it as an artform, not a marketing ploy. The “animation is just for kids” mentality doesn’t exist there. The Europeans have proven that animation is a powerful storytelling medium, not just some gimmick used for kiddie movies.

    • @animator:
      Yes, I agree that most American movies are mainly based on useless chatter, cruddy and offensive jokes, and over-exposed private parts of women.
      @ Margot:
      I know you like works by Hayao Miyazaki, so I’ll reccomend another work that you might like. I’ve never seen a European animated movie before, but I have watched an awesome stop motion Japanese animation by a Japanese animater Tsuneo Goda, most famous for his work “Domo”. He has also created “Komaneko the Curious Cat”. The first short film I watched is called “Komaneko the Curious Cat: True Friend”, and is about Komaneko, a young female cat (I’ll call her a girl) who explores a forest and finds big footprints. She investigates further and found that the footprints belong to a yeti, and befriends it. The Yeti is actually a girl dog called Inuko that pretended to be a yeti. There’s a surprise at the end, but you’ll have to watch to find out. That’s the basic story anyway. The animation is really good for stop motion, and Komaneko isn’t a girl that stays home all day. She is curious and likes to go out and explore. She doesn’t even speak Japanese and only meows and purrs sometimes. There is really limited dialogue, but you can’t even understand what they’re saying in the first place. Instead, Tsuneo uses the actions, great music, and the facial expressions of the characters to tell the story. The story is really touching and I almost cried. You may want to try searching it on Google. I highly recommend you to watch it with your daughters.

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