“It is said cats are aware of God’s existence. While dogs think people are God, cats don’t. They just know better.”
This is just one of the many thought-provoking quotes interspersed throughout Kedi, a Turkish cinematic gem about the hundreds of thousands of cats that meander the metropolis of Istanbul, seemingly ruling the city and relishing the affection they receive at every turn. Directed by Ceyda Torun, the 79-minute documentary follows the lives of seven in particular, each with a cheeky name and distinct personality of its own.
There’s Sari (the “hustler” who lives at the base of Galata Tower), Duman (a “foodie” who has become accustomed to dining on smoked meats and specialty cheeses because of his alliances), Gamsiz (the “player” who isn’t actually as innocent as he looks), and more. But the idea behind Kedi isn’t simply to highlight how adorable they are – it goes a lot deeper than that.
With equal parts wit, whimsy, and sentimentality, Torun has showcased the symbiotic, almost spiritual relationship between Istanbul’s residents and its well-fed feline population. You’ll hear the story of an interviewee who was led to a lost wallet by a stray cat after his fishing boat was damaged during a storm. Another profound tangent sees a man credit the cats he feeds for helping him heal after a mental breakdown. In yet another vignette, a shopkeeper claims that the cats who turn up at her store absorb negative energy. It’s no wonder that Kedi has been referred to as “an unashamed love letter peppered with wisdom and warmth”.
And it’s not just the documentary that glorifies the gorgeous street cats of Istanbul. Not only are there 136,636 posts currently filed under #catsofistanbul, but there are also several Instagram accounts dedicated to it, with CatsOfIstanbul and IstanbulStreetCats being just two such examples. See a handful of the city’s finest in Savoir Flair’s edit, below, and watch the documentary by clicking here.