KediDVD - 2015 | Turkish
" ... Steeped in charm and simple wisdom."--Leonard Maltinches
" ... An almost unadulterated pleasure."--Boston Globe.
Hundreds of thousands of cats roam the metropolis of Istanbul freely. For thousands of years they've wandered in and out of people's lives, becoming an essential part of the communities that make the city so rich. Claiming no owners, these animals live between two worlds, neither wild nor tame, and they bring joy and purpose to those people they choose to adopt. In Istanbul, cats are the mirrors to the people, allowing them to reflect on their lives in ways nothing else could.
From the critics
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Our concerns for street animals and our concerns for people are completely related to one another. If you ask me, the troubles that street cats or other street animals face are not independent from the troubles that we all face. It would be easy to see street cats as a problem and handle them as a problem. Whereas if we can learn to live together again, maybe well solve our own problems as we try to solve theirs. In fact, I'm sure that we would even regain our fading sense of humor and rekindle our slowly dying joy for life.
Cats have the kind of mystery that fuels the imagination. Their gaze... The fact that you can never fully decipher them. Jacques Derrida's last book, 'The Animal That Therefore I am' - he comes face to face with his cat of many years. And in that moment thinks, 'I wonder how this animal sees me'. We rarely think about it, being naked - should we be embarrassed in front of the cat? As a result of that moment, the man goes and writes a whole book.
When you're alone for long periods your animal instincts get sharper. I really believe that. Maybe its a quality that should be developed more in all of us. There's a power you can feel within yourself, of a wild creature. I think everyone needs to discover that in themselves. Cats are satisfied with their existence. And they're very sure of their character. But its not enough for us. We always want more. That mentality poisons us and destroys everything. And maybe in the near future, in two or three years we may no longer see cats on these streets. They all have personalities, like people. If you look closely, were the same. Some want affection, others will tell you all their troubles. Some are discreet, wont talk about anything. Others are ambitious. And some are pompous... like a lady who cant be bothered to say hello. Cats are exactly the same. Some wont even look when I call to them. I believe they share the same traits as people.
Especially in this country, in a city like this... its very difficult to be a woman, to be female. to express your femininity, to be defiant with your femininity. Being female and if you're a "pretty little thing" you feel like you have to account for all of it. She comes around when she wants to be loved. Gets her fill of love and leaves. But I cant do as I please. I grabbed her tail, she bit my hand. But she does as she wishes. That's very important to me. That she never compromises her freedom. She has a fighting spirit. That's what I like. She has qualities that people should have. Their posture feels very feminine to me. I don't see that elegance in women anymore. We've lost that, but cats carry themselves so well.
It is said that cats are aware of Gods existence but that dogs are not. Dogs think people are God, but cats don't. Cats know that people act as middlemen to Gods will. They're not ungrateful, they just know better. Petting a cat gives me a peculiar sense of security. Even though we don't speak each others language... we immediately form a shared language. I imagine having a relationship with cats must be a lot like being friends with aliens. You make contact with a very different life form open a line of communication with one another... and start a dialogue. And they're very foreign to us, very different. Whether physically, mentally, or in capacity they're very different. Yet, we' e able to have a relationship with them.
In Istanbul, the cat is more than just a cat. The cat embodies the indescribable chaos, the culture, and the uniqueness that is the essence of Istanbul. Without the cat, Istanbul would lose a part of its soul And there's nothing like it anywhere else on earth.
Some cats really have character, you can tell from their faces. I think its wrong to trap them in a house... just so we can pet them. There are millions of them out there, we pet them all we want. What matters is being on the same frequency as them. To communicate with them. Besides, they can tell... who likes them and who doesn't. They notice. And they give off good energy. They absorb all your negative energy.
We're lucky. They do me good.
It all changed over the last five years, when these buildings went up. It used to be all green here. There were orchards, and gardens where they'd grow crops. When these buildings went up, it all disappeared no nature left. ... it'll be a shame if they tear this lace down. I don't know what well do. This will be a major road. They want to connect these buildings. We're more worried about what'll happen to the cats than what might happen to us. If this area gets demolished, and that's likely, they won't have anyone.
At some point, they miss the streets.
She was special not only because she was my first but also because she had great character. She died of breast cancer. I would dress her to keep her from licking her wounds. I tried very hard to find a cat like her again... but I came to realize that it was futile, that she was one of a kind. My longing for her... lets just say if there is afterlife, I want to meet her again, not my grandmother. We cook twenty pounds of chicken every day. We don't feed them dried cat food or anything artificial. My therapist says I try to heal my own wounds by healing theirs. By feeding them and tending to their needs. My wounds must be so deeply rooted they still haven't healed despite all this. I guess I'll heal when they heal. There was a time I had great difficulty dealing with death. I accept death as a reality... but I have difficulty dealing with the longing. That's my problem with death.
The love of animals is a different kind of love. People who don't love animals can't love people either. I know that much.
His name was "Milkman" when he first showed up. Hed come around to drink milk and leave . He was barely a year old. He hadn't been neutered. Then he started showing up all beat up. He got into fights with other males over the ladies. He got kicked one time and showed up with a dislocated leg. He was bitten by a dog and showed up with a hole in his butt. But it never ruins his mood hes always happy. A neighbor of mine started calling him carefree, happy-go-lucky. So the name Gamsiz carefree stuck.
Beng loves to be loved. Honestly. She loves it when you pet her she nearly passes out. Its not the kind of sappiness from old Turkish movies... but I do look for her. If I don't see her, or hear her voice if she's not around when I get here in the morning I get worried and look for her. Maybe she is like a child. People miss their kids, right? I miss her.
I had to leave early yesterday. I was sad I couldn't bring enough food. I couldn't eat my dinner with a clear conscience. Its overwhelming when I think of them back there. I have a lot of friends who know what I do here... but they don't understand why I take it upon myself. They think God will provide for them. I say "Sure, but I'm the middleman." Besides, its better than spending my time at the cafe.
God brings us closer to him in different ways. For me, it was these animals. I guess I was worthy of his love. A cat meowing at your feet, looking up at you is life smiling at you. Those are moments when were lucky they remind us that were alive.
Beneath that aristocratic appearance, there is still a street kid. In a way, street animals are our cultural symbol. Istanbul and cats... So many cats roaming the streets of a city. They've become a distinct trait of Istanbul. The streets seem empty to me without cats.
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