Please join Birds Eye View for a special screening of Kedi at Picturehouse Central on Tuesday 4th July, and read on for more information about Ceyda Torun’s groundbreaking Turkish cat documentary …
How the film was made:
“The biggest challenge was trying to be in more than one place at the same time, which never really worked,” Torun said. “We were a very small crew and we wanted to have two cameras at least on at all times. In order for us to do that, we had to be with both cameras on in every location.”
“We were kind of like a mobile crew in a van, six of us in the van that would go place to place,” she explained. “Often we would get phone calls [from subjects], saying, ‘oh, the tabby is here, the tabby I’ve been telling you about!’ and we’re like, ‘okay, we’re 45 minutes away, we’re coming!’ and we’d get there and it’d be gone. I don’t think we stopped filming except when we were sleeping.”
“We approached the cats first,” she said. “We approached that and literally just walked the streets and talked to people and said, ‘is there a neighborhood cat that does something special?’ My biggest angle was, ‘Is there a cat that a lot of people know?’ because I was pretty sure that this idea of cats connecting people was a big thing.”
How long it took to make the film:
Eight week shoot
Quotes from the women involved (about making the film and what it’s really about):
Stories that are memorable; sometimes scary, sometimes spiritual, but always very personal.
“I grew up in Istanbul and I believe my childhood was infinitely less lonesome than it would have been if it werenʼt for cats – and I wouldnʼt be the person I am today. They were my friends and confidants and I missed their presence in all the other cities I ever lived in. This film is, in many ways, a love letter to those cats and the city, both of which are changing in ways that are unpredictable.” – Ceyda
“When we set out to make this film, I had many ideas about what it should be. I wanted to explore philosophical themes that would make an audience ponder about our relationship to cats, to nature, to each other” – Ceyda
Interesting facts, quotes from reviewers:
“Street cats, unowned and on their own, have been a feature of Istanbul life for uncounted centuries, and according to Kedi their presence “embodies the indescribable chaos, the culture and the uniqueness that is the essence of Istanbul. Without them, the city would lose part of its soul.”
“Dogs think people are God, but cats don’t. Cats are aware of God’s existence. Cats know that people act as middlemen to God’s will. They’re not ungrateful, they just know better.” – Kenneth Turan at Los Angeles Times
“The movie hits a somber note near the end, noting that Istanbul’s modernization is crowding out both individuated neighborhoods and cats. The animals, one human says, can ‘rekindle our own slowly dying love of life.’ That’s one way of putting it, I guess. In any event, I give Kedi four claws up.” – Glenn Kenny at The New York Times
The screening takes place on Tuesday 4th July at 6.30pm and will be followed by a discussion hosted by BEV’s director-at-large Mia Bays, with John Stokes and Dr Devorah Baum. John Stokes is Emeritus Professor of Modern British Literature at King’s College London. He has a particular interest in animal/ human relations and is currently researching canine elegies. Dr Devorah Baum is Lecturer in English/Critical Thinking, Southampton University plus a specialist in animal psychology.
Check out a trailer below and book your tickets here.