The Rabbi's Cat Reviews
Considering that talking animals have been around as long as there have been sound movies, it does seem more than a little strange that it has taken until very recently with "The Rabbi's Cat" to fully explore what that would mean in the real world, especially in this timeless Algeria where religions intersect and co-exist mostly peacefully.(If I had to guess, I would have to say this might be the 30's with the 1925 Citroen playing a part, and after the Russian Revolution but no mention of the Holocaust.) But that's not all as this very entertaining film makes great use of hand drawn animation in a variety of styles to detail its world, aided by a very cool soundtrack.
Set in Algiers initially, then many places in Africa around 1920.
A cat adopts a rabbi and his daughter. The cat, after eating a talking parrot, gains the ability to speak and read. He helps the rabbi with his professional development test. In doing so he invokes God's name; the rabbi passes, but the cat temporarily loses his ability to speak French.
A large box of books from Russia; the box also contains a body. Only the cat recognizes that the body is still alive. When the cat awakens the Russian, he finds the prince can understand him (in Russian) even though the others cannot understand him in French.
They look for a person in Algiers who speaks both Russian and French. The rabbi finds him and recruits him to translate for the prince.
There are a number of philosophical discussions and talks about the politics of the area in 1920. As a side effect of all this, a quest is started to find black Jews in Africa. Getting there was hilarious. It is also revealed that the prince wants to paint all sorts of subjects throughout Africa.
The rabbi, the prince, the cat, the rabbi's Arab Muslim friend and his talking donkey set out to find this city. There are lots of changes along the way. The cat regains his ability to speak French. The prince finds his wife. Eventually the prince and his new bride find the city. The humour is outstanding.
Art/Animation: 10/10 The style is pen and ink, with minimal shading. This is rather well executed in great detail.
Sound: 10/10 Always good.
Screenplay: 10/10 Brilliant writing for an ensemble of clever characters. The story is humorous and moves right along, from beginning to middle to happy ending. The comedy of manners aspect is deftly handled.
My main concern is that the film is split into uneven chapters, having troubles with the distribution of the leading and secondary roles, and with a plot suddenly becoming a cross-continental journey with no epic or adventurous spirit, but with random events seemingly being included for the purpose of narrow-minded criticism instead. Of course these religions deviated from God's Word are worth the criticism and questioning of their own religious logic, especially because of the harm, violence and lies they execute in today's society, but if one of the purposes was indeed satire or criticism (maybe a combination of both), the film offers no proposal or reflection at all, like a boy that throws a stone at an adult's back and hides his hand before the adult can turn.
Nevertheless, these animation attempts are still strongly encouraged, even by me, so it's better that they keep showing up. The French animation industry was close to dying before the 2000s.
Technischer Firlefanz Hin oder Her, das amerikanische Popcornspektakel mit seinen farblosen Helden und immer gleichen Plots findet seinen Meister in Le Chat du Rabbin".
Ich denke, Le Chat du Rabbin" ist auch ein guter Kinderfilm, auch wenn gemordet und philosophiert wird, die rasanten Actionszenen eines Dreamworksfilms sind da auch nicht nervenschonender. Vor allem aber ist Le Chat" weitaus bekömmlicher für alle erwachsenen Kinogänger.
Ein kurzer Umriss, um was es geht. Eine Katze im Algier der 20er Jahre frisst einen Papagei und kann daraufhin sprechen. Ihr Besitzer ist Rabbi der kleinen jüdischen Gemeinde in Algier und bekommt eine Lieferung an Gebetsbüchern der verfolgten Ashkenazi aus Russland. In ihr befindet sich auch ein russisch-jüdischer Maler. Mit Hilfe eines anderen in Algier ansässigen Russen, eines zaristischen Aristokraten im Exil, machen sie sich auf eine Expedition zum sagenumwobenen Neuen Jerusalem" irgendwo in der Wüste Äthiopiens, wo alle Völker in Einklang Leben, ohne Rassismus und Diskriminierung.
In einem alten Halbkettenfahrzeug des reichen Russen, gabeln sie zunächst noch den Imam-Cousin des Rabbis und dessen Esel auf und machen sich auf den Weg. Dieser Weg bietet viele Abenteuer und gefährliche Begegnungen (u.a. mit mordslustigen Tuareg) und eine geniale Cameo von Tim und Struppi.
Eine Ansammlung so vieler Konfessionen kann aber auch nur bedeuten, dass über Gott und die Welt philosophiert wird - und das tun sie - ausgiebig.
Dass es nie langweilig wird, verdankt der Film wohl seinen wohlgezeichneten Charakteren. Viele Animationsfilme würden den Fehler begehen sich schon nach kurzer Zeit ins Abenteuer zu stürzen, wohingegen Le Chat" die erste Hälfte des Films in Algier verbringt und dort seine Charaktere entwickelt. Dabei lernen wir auch die Tochter des Rabbis und seinen Cousin Malka kennen, die leider später total irrelevant werden. Der Film schreit geradezu nach noch mehr Abenteuern und einer Fortsetzung (man darf befürchten, dass es nie soweit kommen wird).
Zuletzt, zum Animationsstil. Soweit ich das beurteilen kann, war der Film handgezeichnet. Nicht im Stile Disneys jedoch, sondern etwas eigenwillig, im Stile von Sfars Graphic Novels. Wie auch immer, eine religions- und gesellschaftskritische Satire, die mit einer Katze als Katalysator arbeitet, der fast alles erlaubt ist zu sagen kann auch ohne atemberaubende Animation auskommen.
Only thoughts and dreams floating through the vast emptiness that was.
Until, like that of a beautiful sunrise, our glorious lord and savior, the almighty ogre, Shrek, was born of these thoughts and dreams, of those whom had not yet come to be.
Shrek is infinitely knowledgeable, and the all powerful ruler of the universe.
For several thousand years, Shrek would pleasure himself in solitude, and he would dream about what could be, and what will be.
Until, he grow so tired of masturbating, that he decided to try anal fisting.
So large was his fist, so intense was the struggle.
The shit that he shat was so glorious, that it flew across the emptiness, and so strong was his passion, that most of his shit was set aflame.
After one huge push, his stomach was empty, and the Earth was formed from the last piece of shit that came from his rectum.
And from his anus flowed blood,
like that of a forest stream on a summer day, and this blood formed the oceans on earth.
Shrek was so pleased with the outcome, that he created the Dinosaurs, with which he lived with for many years. He would pleasure himself with the large reptilian beasts, until one day he let out such a fart that he wiped them out.
For many years again, Shrek was lonely, until from the ashes of the dinosaurs came mankind, a new race of intelligent beings. Shrek now used them to please his desires, and those remained loyal to Shrek, and those who were worthy of him, would sometimes receive a visit from the burly ogre. But unfortunately from the race of mankind came the everlasting evil that is Farquaad, who despised ogres, and swore to defeat our lord. Shrek and Farquaad still clash to this day, and Shrek will forever protect us.
And from here we tell of the exciting adventures of our lord Shrek, and his sub-deities, Puss and Donkey.