By Julio De Francisco (Three Beers) –
A Cat in Paris (Une Vie de Chat), follows the story of Zoe (Driane Zani), a Parisian girl whose father was killed by Victor Costa (Jean Benguigui), a gangster who’s after a priceless statue. Zoe’s cat, Dino, hangs out with Nico at night, who is a cat-burglar. One evening, Zoe follows Dino and stumbles upon thugs plotting the statue’s heist. Meanwhile her mother, Jeanne (Dominique Blanc), is searching for Victor Costa to put him behind bars while at the same time investigating a number of burglar reports.
There was a time when 3D animations were a rarity. However, a feature-length film like A Cat in Paris seems to be a greater rarity these days, especially one animated as beautifully as it was. I toast to the animation studio Folimage for its noire approach for Une Vie de Chat, which really hit me with deep feelings of nostalgia. Every generation has its favorite television shows. As for myself, I grew up watching The Noozles, The World of David the Gnome, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters!, Hey Arnold!, and Rocko’s Modern Life. The shading in the film flickered as if every object in motion was lit by a thousand candle lights. Something about this style stirred up memories of sitting on a couch with my brothers and sisters feeling completely enthralled by what we were seeing on Nickelodeon. I believe this film will strike a stronger chord with cinema goers in their early 30s than the younger crowd.
Does anyone relate to me anymore?
While the animation style is solid, the story is mediocre at best. You’ve seen this movie before. The protagonist is missing a parent and nobody seems to understand her (given that Zoe doesn’t speak since her father was killed). The cat is what ultimately draws all the characters together. While the cat shows some heroism, it is largely over shadowed by Nico the cat-burglar who I believe the film is really about. There are however two redeeming qualities for the story of A Cat in Paris. One is the 180 degree plot twist in the middle of the film which renews your attention just before it’s lost. Also, I thought the way Victor Costa begins his hallucination of the statue walking down the streets of Paris was genius.
The thugs Monsieur Bebe (Mister Baby), Monsieur Hulot, Monsieur Grenouille (Mister Frog), and Monsieur Patate (Mister Potato) are more annoying than comic relief, fighting with each other like stooges with dialogue that never made me crack a smile. There’s a scene that is kind of stolen from Reservoir Dogs where they argue over their code names.
Look, a sandwich!
In the end, you’ll enjoy how the movie looks and if you’re watching it with kids, they’ll enjoy the story. I don’t know if this film is really worthy of getting an Oscar nomination.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Sip: whenever someone leaps/jumps or does something that resembles Parkour.
Take a Drink: whenever Zoe’s Nanny sprays herself with perfume or when you see the perfume cloud..
Take a Drink: whenever Dino the cat pounces on an animal.
Take a Drink: whenever Dino scratches someone and draws blood.
Take a Drink: whenever the barking dog gets hit by a shoe.
Take a Drink: whenever you hear the word “Chat” for Cat.
Take a drink: whenever one of the four thugs needs help for anything.
Drink a Shot: whenever you see the statue Colossus of Nairobi’s penis on screen.