Kedi is a profoundly moving documentary that explores the hidden lives of Istanbul’s street cats. Most of them have no owner or permanent home, but the film shows how kind individuals open their doors to these animals and go out of their way to care for them. Kedi opens our eyes to the world of feral felines so we can see how they live, fight and fend for themselves.
This project questions the very idea of “owning” animals. The majority of these cats are strays and they live independent lives, but they are still cared for by the local people who feed them, protect their kittens and even foot their vet bills. The life of a street cat can be dangerous, and the documentary doesn’t shy away from how some of them get injured and die, but it also shows how resilient and intelligent they are. The cats have their own territory disputes, their own families and their own personalities, and Kedi encourages us to see them as multi-faceted individuals rather than as cute pets.
Some of the interviewees feel that cats essentially “saved” their life, that their connection to the animal world gave them a purpose and a new appreciation for living, whilst others believe that felines are almost divine and are sometimes used by God to perform miracles. The film also explores the practical ways that cats protect their city from rodents and provide a real service for their human neighbours, which is partly why these strays have always been so popular in Istanbul.
Kedi features stunning cinematography, which includes shots from the cats’ point of view, beautiful close-ups of these creatures, and energetic fight scenes. There are also some wonderful shots of Istanbul, which will make viewers desperate to visit this historical and ever-changing city. Kira Fontana’s soundtrack goes perfectly with the action and the mixture of dreamy, combative and amusing music scores will move and entertain audiences in equal measure.
Through the eyes of the cats, Kedi is able to explore the changing landscape of Istanbul and how the loss of nature to ever-growing office blocks affects humans and animals alike. We are also shown the depth of human kindness and how willing people are to aid these animals, and how cats and humans can help each other as equals. Kedi will give you a new-found respect and appreciation for these creatures, and you will never look at your feline friend the same way again.
Kedi is released in selected cinemas on 30th June.
Watch the trailer for Kedi here: