This animated French film attracted attention after unexpectedly receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature (this was the year Rango won), and is a Major Cat Movie. It was made by the French animation studio Folimage and is a French-Belgian-Swiss-Dutch co-production.
Zoe is a small girl who hasn’t spoken since the death of her policeman father at the hands of a gangster kingpin. Her mother, also a police officer, is investigating a series of burglaries; neither mother nor daughter is aware that Zoe’s cat, Dino, moonlights as the burglar’s sidekick. When Zoe is kidnapped (because she’s a small girl, and I’m afraid this is what always happens to small girls in films), the cat and the goodhearted thief team up to go to the rescue.
The film noir lite story fills the one hour running-time nicely, and though the hand-drawn animation may seem crude by Pixar standards, it has a naive nostalgic charm harking back to such painters as Marc Chagall. Recurring motifs include decorative male stubble, exquisite jewel-like colours and some beautiful views of the Paris skyline.
MINI FRENCH LESSON!
In French, to lead “une vie de chat” (a cat’s life) means to lead an easy, comfortable life. The French have lots of other cat-related expressions and idioms. Here are just a few:
“Avoir d’autres chats à fouetter” (literally: to have other cats to whip) is the equivalent of the English expression “to have other fish to fry”.
“Avoir un chat dans la gorge” (literally: to have a cat in the throat) is the equivalent of the English expression “to have a frog in the throat”.
“Appeler un chat un chat” (literally: to call a cat a cat) is the equivalent of the English expression “to call a spade a spade”.
“Il n’y a pas un chat” (literally: there’s not a cat) means there is absolutely no-one present.
French Wikipedia has an even longer list of cat-related proverbs and expressions (in French).
AN APOLOGY: Please accept my apologies for the absence of CAT OF THE DAY on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th December 2012. I learnt the hard way that posting to this blog from an iPad Mini is not a viable proposition. Certainly not from the WordPress app, anyway.