steampunk heart

Kedi (2017) – a documentary about what it’s like to be a street cat in Istanbul

Turkish director Ceyda Torun’s sublimely shot documentary focuses on Istanbul’s many thousands of street cats and the humans whose turf they share, who tend them and take solace in their company without seeking to constrain their freedom.

Torun skilfully intertwines the stories of several cats into the fabric of the places in which they (and, in some instances, their young) survive.

She captures them wandering through street markets, cafés, artists’ studios, workshops and patches of wasteland. We watch them hunting, scavenging and charming their way around fishing boats, riverbanks, tips, kitchens and jetties. They nip in and out of the windows of cramped, ageing flats, through backyards, shops and crowded alleys.

Kedi’s central message is that the centuries-long interdependence of human and feline – marked by easy tolerance, respect and not a little folklore and superstition – is a distinctive marker of Istanbul’s culture, one potentially under threat by the inexorable creep of high rise, urban redevelopment.

It should be cherished and preserved as a civilised and civilising point of pride.

  • Hundreds of thousands of Turkish cats roam the metropolis of Istanbul freely. For thousands of years they’ve wandered in and out of people’s lives, becoming an essential part of the communities that make the city so rich. Claiming no owners, the cats of Istanbul live between two worlds, neither wild nor tame –and they bring joy and purpose to those people they choose to adopt. In Istanbul, cats are the mirrors to the people, allowing them to reflect on their lives in ways nothing else could.

Critics and internet cats agree – this cat documentary will charm its way into your heart and home as you fall in love with the cats in Istanbul. This film is a sophisticated take on your typical cat video that will both dazzle and educate.

  • “If you don’t love animals, you can’t love people.”