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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