Le chat du rabbin [The Rabbi’s Cat] (2011)

Le chat du rabbin
Director: Antoine Delesvaux, Joann Sfar
Writer: Joann Sfar, Sandrina Jardel
Based on: Joann Sfar‘s comic
Cast: François Morel, Maurice Bénichou, Hafsia Herzi, Sava Lolov, Eric Elmosnino, Mathieu Amalric
Part of: Anilogue

Plot:
Algeria in the 1920s. The local rabbi’s (Maurice Bénichou) cat (François Morel) starts talking after eating the family parrot. And since the cat loves nothing more than the rabbi’s daughter (Hafsia Herzi), he wants to convert to Judaism to be able to court her. But that is only the beginning of the rabbi’s and the cat’s adventures that leads them right across Africa.

The movie is very funny, but it kinda ends in the middle of nowhere (literally and figuratively) and it has a few lengths. Nevertheless, it’s pretty excellent.

I really liked the film’s aesthetics. They were extraordinary and not always beautiful but engaging all the time. And I loved that cat, as much the looks as the character. He was very catty (for a lack of a better word), but also very much his own person.

But I think the thing I liked most about it was the Tintin spoof in the middle of it. (Especially after my recent hate tirade.) Spot on, is all I can say to that. And very deserved since Tintin in the Congo is problematic, to say the least. [As an aside, when I was in the Congo I was absolutely astonished by the amount of Tintin souvenirs you could buy there. But I guess that’s the demand of all the Belgian tourists there.]

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. As I mentioned before, I didn’t really like the ending. On the one hand, it wasn’t really an ending, the film just stopped. On the other hand it ends with the cat’s possessive and jealous wish that the rabbi’s daughter my never find love or have children and I feel that it’s not something that should remain the last word.

But apart from that I very much enjoyed the film, especially its sense of humor.

[On a sidenote: I was completely blown away by Mathieu Amalric’s voice. Had it always been that deep and I had just not noticed or did they change it for this film? In any case, I like. ]

Summarising: Altogether very entertaining.

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