Kedi review: A fascinating documentary about Istanbul's cat population that may have been conceived of by a mind-controlling worm

Steve Hogarty
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Toxoplasma gondii is a worm-like parasite that’s transmitted to humans in cat faeces, infecting the brain and causing changes in behaviour and personality. So if you like cats, there’s a chance it’s because a weird parasite has hijacked a part of your brain and taken control of your mind. (If you like dogs, on the other hand, then you are a decent, healthy and right-thinking person, and less likely to be under the spell of a worm.)

A 79-minute documentary about Istanbul’s street cats, Kedi is perhaps the first film ever produced entirely by a parasite. Slow moving, beautifully shot and ethereally contemplative, the film explores the city’s feral cat population through a series of interviews with local humans, who regard them as furry little angels. Istanbul is swarming with kitties, each with names and complex personalities largely projected onto them by their doting carers.

Even the staunchest members of Team Dog will find the mini-dramatics intriguing, but by the time we’re introduced to kitty number eight or nine there’s a sense of being stuck on a series of bad dates with cat people. It’s an odd criticism, but there are too many cats in this documentary. If you’re toxoplasmic, you’ll coo yourself into a blissful repose. For the rest of us, it’s a shame there isn’t more of Istanbul reflected in their monstrous, beady little eyes.

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