Chacun cherche son chat: Synopsis

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This is a story about a girl who lost her cat...

A breezy romantic comedy about a beautiful girl, her missing cat, and the ever-changing face of Paris, "WHEN THE CAT'S AWAY" is the story of a single woman stuck in the most romantic city in the world.

Chloé (Garance Clavel) is a make-up artist whose love life is going nowhere. She can't understand why the only men in her life are her gay roommate Michel (Olivier Py) and her jet-black cat, Gris-Gris (Arapimou). Deciding to take a break from Paris, she plans a seaside vacation. Unfortunately, Gris-Gris can't come along, and Michel refuses to take responsibility for him. So Chloé entrusts her beloved feline to Madame Renée (Renée Le Calm), a dotty old lady with a litter of cats of her own.

Chloé returns to find Madame Renée thoroughly distraught--Gris-Gris is missing. Together, they conduct a search of the area, a quest which takes Chloé on a picaresque series of misadventures, and introduces her to a wildly diverse group of people that she might otherwise never have met. These include Djamel (Zinedine Soualem), a slow-witted Arab who loses his heart to Chloé while trying to find her pet; neighborhood wiseguy Carlos (Simon Abkarian); Bel Canto, the trés triste painter who lives in Chloé's building; a mysterious long-haired drummer (Romain Duris) who keeps crossing Chloé's path; and Madame Renée's numerous elderly friends, a virtual army of cat-lovers who come to Chloé's aid.

Writer/director Cédric Klapisch shot the film in a largely improvisational way, incorporating his knowledge of the neighborhood and its residents into the film's freewheeling structure. Many of the film's characters (including the wonderful Renée Le Calm and her friends) are played by non-actors whose scenes were shot in their own apartments. "WHEN THE CAT'S AWAY" won the International Critics Award at last year's Berlin International Film Festival and went on to become a critical and popular hit in its native France, where it has played for almost a year. The film's success has been repeated in The Netherlands, Great Britain, Switzerland, Italy and Germany.

"WHEN THE CAT'S AWAY" explores its surroundings with a sweet sense of humor, presenting a vivid portrait of a Parisian neighborhood on the verge of disappearing, as old buildings and old people give way to gentrification and trendy youth. While Chloé's journey also uncovers an unexpected sea of loneliness underneath the romantic Parisian vistas, ultimately the film becomes a hopeful valentine to all who yearn for love. It might not be an easy task, but somewhere in the alleyways of the city, you just might find what you're looking for.

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