‘Kedi’ review: Turkish delight

Feline-filled foreign film fave needs fewer rooftop views, more rodents, envious Oregon expert explains

Typing and litterbox assistance by Maria Choban

Kedi: The Cats of Istanbul.
Directed by Ceyda Torun

Opening in theaters everywhere in March, and in Portland at Cinema 21 on March 3, director Ceyda Torun’s love letter to the street cats of Istanbul follows seven cats through the packed avenues, back alleys and outdoor markets of Istanbul, with cameras mounted on toy trucks by agile cinematographer John Keith Wasson. It also opens this weekend at Ashland’s Varsity Theater, and in Corvallis, Salem, Sisters and Eugene later in March.

Hello! C.S. Eliot here!

I just watched Kedi: The Cats of Istanbul!!

Reviewers love it. Cat people love it. But I don’t understand why those street cats get all the attention while I languish here amid pillows and throw rugs. Which do me no good when they’re hanging on the wall where I can’t shred them.

As an oppressed Oregon indoor cat, I want the respect and glamour and thrilling life of those Turkish outdoor alley cats! How do they do it?


Kedi-cat Duman, the gentleman, eats soft gouda and smoked Turkey breast daily while I get kibble.

How does he accomplish this?

I study his technique. He paddles the high-end delicatessen window with his paws at around 300 beats per minute. I’ll try it! Here goes….

Oops. Harder than I thought. I’ll keep practicing.


I want to be a player like Gamsiz.

With an artisan baker as his main squeeze, Gamsiz scrambles up broken trellises, across roofs, and down multiple storied buildings, to play with his pussy-on-the-side — the actress across town. The stud still finds time to protect his turf.

I too want to be outdoors, patrolling my turf, chasing something larger than ladybugs. But not too large.

I want to be more than just on a diet. But reduced circumstances as in two less testicles, have turned me into a perennial, playful kitten. That and I’ve forgotten what my claws are for….


I want to be a bad-ass Kedi-cat like Psikopat, who terrorizes her neighborhood.

I study how she boxes her husband’s ears. Incited to terrorize the humans, I scamper to try this technique on them now! Banzai!


I will continue to practice by batting my 23 cat toys around the chair and table legs and boxing with shadows on the walls. One day, I too will make the humans cower like Psikopat’s husband.


I examine Aslan, the hunter. The humans believe he repays them for tolerating his presence at their outdoor seafood restaurant. In gratitude, they imagine, he keeps their once problematic rat population under control.

I, however, realize the lion king has conquered them with his regal poise. Unlike the gymnastics of Duman and the martial arts of Psikopat, I feel a static pose is something I can master. A pose that will demand respect.


Didn’t Kedi promise me Birds? I’m pretty sure Kedi promised me Birds!!

With its endless shots of Istanbul rooftops, I still don’t understand why this movie is so popular. I darted my eyes over all the high panned Istanbul roofs looking for Birds! When I gaze out my window to the roofs across the street, I see Birds! I chatter in their dialect. Kedi needs more Birds! Or fewer empty rooftops.

You know what else Kedi needs more of? NOT boring talking people. It needs More Mice! Only one scene of a scurrying mouse. And NO money shot! I want to see Aslan bite its little head off!!! If you want to keep my attention, MORE MICE!

I guess I just don’t understand why Americans go gaga over these Istanfools when they could find far more fascinating companions like me at places like the Cat Adoption Team, where we Oregon cats go to adopt helpless humans. So, in conclusion, I give Kedi 2.5 paws up. Kedi returns to Portland’s Cinema 21 March 3. Get your advance tickets here.

I won’t be among the hordes of humans standing in long lines in the cold for tickets, as happened last month when Kedi screened for two sold-out days at the Portland International Film Festival. I’ll be at home in front of the fireplace, plotting my escape from indoor imprisonment.

Dreaming about Kedi: The Cats of Istanbul.

All photos of ME, C.S. Eliot, were snapped by my slave, Brett Campbell. I did NOT give permission to share all of them!

Maria Choban is ArtsWatch’s Oregon ArtsBitch. This (scratching) post originally appeared on her new Portland entertainment site, CatScratch

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