At a time when 3D ‘experiences’ are being used to fleece a few extra pence of generous parents and numerous sequels and spin-offs of CGI family films are saturating cinema listings, it comes as a welcome breath of fresh air to see there are still films like Academy Award nominee A Cat in Paris (2010) being made. Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol’s children’s animation is a lovingly hand-crafted piece of escapism which shows that today’s discerning child audiences don’t have to be hand fed pristine prints of outlandish adventures to be entertained.
Dino is a cat living a double life. By day he’s the caring companion of Zoe – a little girl who since losing her father to the hands of a notorious gangster has become mute and unable to construct a true bond with her police detective mother. At night Dino takes to the rooftops of Paris as an accomplice to Nico – a burglar with a heart almost as large as his swag bag. However, an unusual twist of fate brings Dino’s two worlds together, with this fearless feline finding himself in a perilous situation with his two closest companion’s lives in danger.
The painstakingly meticulous 2D animation of A Cat in Paris is delightfully old fashion however, so too is the film’s storyline – offering very little in the way of an inventive or unique narrative, something which may sadly deter younger audiences. Whilst the film’s story may lack imagination that’s not to say A Cat in Paris isn’t without its charm.
Apart from the quintessentially European visuals which draw influence from the expressionist era of art history, the film contains numerous nods to the film noir of the French New Wave such as Bob the Gambler (1956) and Lift to the Scaffold (1958) – the latter more recognisable through the film’s delectable Miles Davis inspired jazz score.
With a runtime of around 60 minutes A Cat in Paris never quite feels like a feature film, sitting somewhere between the realms of a TV miniseries and a fully fledged family movie. However despite its minute stature the film is chocked full of excitement thanks primarily to its collection of thoroughly engaging and eclectic characters.
Whilst perhaps not quite the powerful defibrillator shock to the heart of 2D animation that The Illusionist (2010) or Persepolis (2007) were, A Cat in Paris remains an incredibly slight but highly enjoyable romp which shows there’s still magic to be found in hand drawn cinema.