A Cat in Paris (Une vie de chat) (PG)

Animation was largely considered to be a genre of film-making specifically aimed at children until relatively recently, but, mainly through the amazing work of Studio Ghibli, it has come to be seen as a credible mainstream cinematic medium. Over the last few years, France has produced some superb animated films: Persepolis, The Triplets of Belville and The Illusionist spring to mind. A Cat in Paris continues this high standard of illustration, innovation and creativity, which can be enjoyed equally by all ages, coming from across the Channel.

Dino is a pet cat that leads a double life. By day he lives with Zoe; a girl who doesn’t speak, whose mother, Jeanne, is a police detective. At night, he accompanies Nico; an agile cat burglar with a big heart. As Jeanne’s obsession with capturing master criminal, Victor Costa, increases, the trio find their stories overlapping as they all become embroiled in a gangster plot.

The first thing you notice about A Cat in Paris is the beautiful expressionist animation from directors Jean-Loup Felicioli & Alain Gagnol. At times it feels as though the characters have literally just stepped out of a picture, the animation flowing seamlessly along with the jazz score. There are some wonderfully playful touches, especially with the “dark” scenes and with the clever use of sound. I normally have grave reservations about English language dubs, but I can see the sense in it with films aimed at children. The trailer made me slightly nervous, but thankfully it was impressively executed throughout.

What you end up with is a film which will entertain and amuse children and adults alike. The Parisian skyline provides a picturesque backdrop as the chase ensues across the rooftops, interspersed with a subtle humour and a slight, yet poignant, story. A Cat in Paris is not a film that assails the audience with a visceral assault; instead it relies on deft brushstrokes and a lightness of touch, which makes it easy to see why it was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at this years Academy Awards.

Playing at the Showroom now http://www.showroomworkstation.org.uk/acatinparis