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A Cat in Paris

A Cat in Paris

Released 6 April 2012
Director(s) Jean-Loup Felicioli, Alain Gagnol

Dominique Blanc, Bruno Salomone, Jean Benguigui, Bernadette Lafont, Oriane Zani, Bernard Bouillon
Writer(s) Alain Gagnol
Producer(s) Jacques-Rémy Girerd

France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium
Running Time 70 minutes
Genre Animation, crime, mystery
Rating PG

Feline good.

Earlier this year, French animation A Cat in Paris (directed by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol) lost out to Gore Verbinski’s Rango in the Best Animated Feature category at the Oscars. It wasn’t a shock defeat but I would argue that while I praised Rango last year for its impeccable and imaginative design, A Cat in Paris is the more enjoyable experience of the two.

The cat in question is Dino. By day he is the loyal pet of a sad young girl called Zoe, by night he is the accomplice of a skilled burglar named Nico. Since the death of her police officer father at the hands of evil mob boss Costa, Zoe has fallen into silence while her mother Jeanne (also an officer) works tirelessly to put Costa behind bars. One night, Zoe sneaks out to follow Dino and makes friends with the kind-hearted Nico. On her way home, she accidentally comes across Costa and his gang and becomes involved in a dramatic chase around night-time Paris.

Just like Rango, the animation of A Cat in Paris is beautiful and individual but is on the other end of the technological scale, being hand drawn and in 2D. The central characters have an elongated look to them; their long faces simply drawn and strikingly similar to the paintings of Italian artist Modigliani. This style is particularly well suited to the character of Nico - the fluid movement of his limbs is fun to watch. The environments are similarly striking, interiors are colourfully decorated, while the Parisian rooftops are beautifully rendered against a dusky blue sky.

The story is not as intricate as the animation but is substantial enough to keep our interest and deals with subject matter that is perhaps a little more grown up than your average animation. The good guys are likeable and the villain is menacing, even though the megalomaniac Costa and his host of incompetent lackeys are the main source of the film’s chuckles.

Inundated as we are with the very latest in digital animation, sometimes it’s nice to go back to the old school. A Cat in Paris is a beautiful example of hand-drawn animation and fans of the genre will find it a pleasure to watch.

- Linda O’Brien