The Rabbi's Cat

2011 [FRENCH]

Animation / Comedy / Fantasy

1
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 3372

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 18, 2021 at 09:54 AM

Director

Cast

François Damiens as Le reporter
Hafsia Herzi as La fille du rabbin
Mathieu Amalric as Le prince
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
827.35 MB
1280*682
fre 2.0
NR
24 fps
1 hr 30 min
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1.66 GB
1920*1024
fre 5.1
NR
24 fps
1 hr 30 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by DICK STEEL 5 / 10

A Nutshell Review: The Rabbi's Cat

Winner of this year's Cesar Awards for Best Animated Film, The Rabbi's Cat directed by Joann Sfar and Antoine Delesvaux is based on a comic series by Sfar, which made the narrative seem a little bit too choppy as it sprawls from a focused introduction, to something of a wandering road trip for the second half of the film that didn't seem to have a point other than to drag it out beyond its welcome. Sure it had enough comedy and quirkiness thanks to the titular cat, but alas repetition doesn't serve it well when issues and comical moments get recycled.

The animation of course is gorgeous to look at given that it's something different from the usual Hollywood studio products, and hand drawn rather than something polished off a computer, or dabbling with the 3D gimmick (though I read elsewhere that there was a 3D version overseas, which is strange given the lack of usual 3D styled visuals). The cat itself requires a little getting used to for the way it's designed and drawn, looking quite unlike any cat you've seen, with its elongated facial features and an extremely long tail.

We follow the adventures of the titular cat, who got his speaking voice (by Francois Morel) thanks to an envy and fatal attack which we don't really get to see, against the parrot of his mistress Zlabya (Hafsia Herzi), the voluptuous daughter of the rabbi Sfar (Maurice Benichou), an easy going religious man. He speaks, to the surprise of his owners, and soon declares that he wants to be a Jew, and to complete the bar mitzvah, in order to get Sfar's approval to remain by Zlabya's side (he has the hots for her you see), instead of being chased away as a monstrosity with his new found voice, akin to being the work of the devil.

Much of the narrative for the first half of the film could be seen as an open discussion between religions such as Judaism, Islam and Christianity, set in 1920s Algeria where there's a clash of cultures with the French, as well as the highlighted differences between the various religions, factions and groups that co-existed at the time. One would need to be sensitive of Algeria in that era in order to milk the most of out this picture, given the lack of background focus as it jumps directly into discussions assuming one would be knowledgeable of the issues of the time.

But even if you're not, then the second half's road trip is probably where you can still follow, where a whole host of characters got introduced, such as an Arabic Sheik of the desert (Mathieu Amalric) with whom the rabbi, his cat and their entourage got into a tangle with, a Russian painter and an African girl that they pick up, and a surprisingly little episode involving a famous Belgian reporter and his dog. It's all downhill from there in their quest to find utopia, as the narrative meanders in too episodic a fashion without an end in sight, leaving things quite open ended in its finale perhaps promising of more adventures to come, but is probably a cliffhanger just like chapters in the comic books.

Reviewed by dromasca 6 / 10

disappointment in 3-D

Joann Sfar is the director of Gainsbourg, Une Vie Heroique, a film that I loved immensely, one of the best I have seen lately. I was not astonished to learn that his Jewish origins are doubled by some Belgian identity, as he is a well known author of 'bandes dessinees'. The character of one of his most popular series - the rabbi's cat is coming now to screens and we spent a couple of hours in our last day in Paris to see this 3-D animated movie.

The story is set in the Algiers of the 30s and the characters are the strongest side of the film. Rabbi Sfar is one of these venerated figures of Sephardi rabbis we would like to see more in real life. He is wise and has a great sense of humor, is tolerant and his best friend is the Muslim sheik Mohammed Sfar (of course, a mirror of himself in tolerance and ecumenicism), he gladly bends the strict rules of Judaic conversions when faced with true love and even pardons the cat who has swallowed his beloved parrot just because it got the divine gift of speaking. The ideal rabbi.

Although we get too little time to know the other characters in the story we are already charmed by the daughter of the rabbi and we hope to meet her in the next episodes of what must become a series. A few other colored characters embark in a cross-African adventure with Indiana Jones flavored promises in the search of the ideal Jewish city where pure Jewishness and proud independence is to be found. Short after the city is found and proves to be a militaristic fortress (any hint with present tense on the responsibility of the viewer) the movie quite abruptly ends. So it must have a continuation, as almost nothing is solved from a characters or story development, and as the action happens in the 30s we now know too well what happened to the Jewish world in the 40s.

The film has a lot of charm and a lot of flaws. I loved the way it is drawn, which descends from the best French and Belgian tradition in the genre. The 3-D effects seem under-used, and I do not think it will make much difference to see this film in 2-D. The characters are interesting and as a viewer you start caring for some of them almost as soon as they show up on screen. The Jewish world of North Africa is well rendered, and the story of the Russian refugee has a touch of Chagall. The message of tolerance and understanding between faith may be naive but such a message is never preached too often. It is exactly the action component so string in other films of the genre which is missing in this movie, or maybe this was just a prelude, in which case I would preferred to see it together with the first and maybe second episode in the series.

Reviewed by myriamlenys 8 / 10

beautiful animation movie about an unusual subject

"The rabbi's cat" might be a somewhat misleading title, in the sense that the cat is devoted, to the point of idolatry, not to the rabbi but to the rabbi's teenage daughter. She is clearly the glorious sun of his small life. When the cat suddenly gains the power of speech, an interesting religious question arises : could/should an animal, however eloquent and intelligent, become a Jew ? Or is Judaism meant only for human beings ?

As you may have guessed from the first paragraph, the movie explores themes like religion (especially, but not only, Judaism), identity and belonging. It is set mainly in an early twentieth-century Algeria, vibrant with colour, where representatives of the three monotheist religions meet and mingle - sometimes in an amicable way, sometimes not. The sun-drenched setting pulses with life and credibility, which leads me to suppose that author/creator Joann Sfar must be deeply familiar with that country. The various characters are beautifully individual or eccentric, such as a middle-aged man who walks around in the company of... a tame lion. (Unsurprisingly, nobody questions HIS right to walk, stand or sit wherever he wants.) And as to the cat of the title : it is the spitting image of a friend's cat I once knew. A skinny, ghost-like thing with huge eyes and ears, it spent most of its time reclining on a pile of cushions, pretty much like the Cleopatra of romantic legend.

So there's quite a lot to like about this movie : its originality, its beauty, its wit, its freshness. On the minus side, the screenplay wanders and meanders. The movie seems to be based not on one graphic novel but on several graphic novels from the same "Cat" series ; it might have been stronger, narratively, if it had concentrated on telling a single short but coherent story.

At one point the intrigue moves ever deeper into the heart of Africa. This allows for a short but lethal "Tintin" parody.

In "The rabbi's cat" Joann Sfar seems to suggest that tolerance is the true crown and achievement of the religiously advanced mind, whatever that religion might be. In case you, dear reader, are one of these people who firmly believe that religions, by their very nature, cause conflict and war : now you know whom to send your next 200-page refutation to...

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