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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. Written by
A Cat in Paris is touching, uplifting entertainment for the young and old. The young will like it for its extreme simplicity, in contrast to many bombastic, whiplash-inducing animated films of the last decade, and the old/older will appreciate it for its beauty and sound.
Prior to its Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature, A Cat in Paris, or Une Vie De Chat, its French title, was seldom seen in America. Its animation style is gorgeous and instantly flashed me back to the big, colorful storybooks that were one of the dominant factors in my youth. The scenes look to be lifted directly from a large picture book, with its colors mixed and warm and its characters appearing like simple human-beings. I expected a watercolor style similar to Chico and Rita, another Best Animated Feature nominated from 2011, which had a heavy emphasis on character detail and environment artistry. A Cat in Paris seems more concerned with the environment and how it appears and feels as a whole, rather than the detail of it.
The film revolves around a young mute girl named Zoé, who lives with her workaholic mother named Jeanne and her black cat. Zoé feels constantly in a competition to get her mother's attention, and is in dismay when she reacts in anger to her collection of dead lizards brought home by the cat. Unknown to both Zoé and her mother is that their cat lives a double life; he assists Nico, a local jewelry burglar, in his late night heists. The cat sneaks out in the middle of the night to return home soundly the next morning and wind up in Zoé's arms. One day, Zoé, the adventurer she is, decides to sneak out and follow her cat to see where he goes, despite the cat's protest. The cat winds up leading her into a mess involving gangsters, searching for a rare, expensive statue. The result is a cute, lively cops and robbers film providing goofy laughs and delightfully whimsical material.
The jazzy soundtrack is instantly lovable, the action is in short bursts and surprisingly fluent, the animation is easy on the eyes, and the fifties look and feel is all present. A Cat in Paris is a film of low-key charm, beautifully rendered images, and a series of lovable little nuances all captured within a slender fifty-eight minute runtime. Perhaps, due to its shadowy effect and gorgeous style, you could refer to this as "animation-noir."
Voiced by: Dominique Blanc, Bruno Salomone, Jean Benguigui, Bernadette Lafont, Oriane Zani, and Bernard Bouillon. Directed by: Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol.
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