Film Scouts Reviews

"Chacun cherche son chat (When the Cat's Away)"

by Liza Bear

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A delightful romantic comedy about a young woman who loses her cat, "When The Cat's Away" is not only an achingly recognizable portrait of a Paris neighborhood, it also takes the pulse of contemporary urban society.

Under the original French title of "Chacun Cherche Son Chat", the film was released in France last April. A few hours ago at Monday's screening, jubilant producer Manuel Munz announced that Sony Picture Classics had clinched a deal on the US distribution rights during the first few days of the Festival.

Paris, like New York, is suffering irrevocable change under the rousing banner of real estate development. Using a deceptively simple premise, Klapisch's finely-wrought script puts to good narrative use elements of the new and the old Paris, from eviction and demolition to friendly neighbors like the concierge and the bakery. The texture of closeknit neighborhood life in La Bastille (the 10th arrondissement) is conveyed with warmth and humor and plenty of suspense.

A tall pale brunette with long, straight hair, luminous brown eyes and slightly knocked knees, Chloe (Garence Clavel) lives with gay room-mate Michel (Olivier Py) and a black cat named Gris-Gris in a brightly-colored attic apartment. By day, she works as a make-up artist for fashion models.

When Chloe goes on holiday for the first time for three years, she boards her cat with 75-year-old Madame Renee. To the old lady's great chagrin, Chloe's black cat disappears before her return. Renee invokes a whole cotillion of old ladies to be on the look-out and for moral support.

Klapisch draws excellent performances from a cast of actors (below 30) and non-actors (above 30). Of particular poignancy in this film are the Paris street visuals and the rapport between young and old.

Cast: Garance Clavel, Zinedine Soualem, Renee Le Calm, Olivier Pi,

Crew: Writer-director, Cedric Klapisch; producers, Vertigo Productions, Aissa Djabri, Farid Lahouassa, Mnauel Munz; camera, Benoit Delhomme; editor Francine Sandberg; production design, Francois Emanelli
French with English subtitles.

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