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Even dog lovers will enjoy this film.

The Museum of the Moving Image will show “Kedi Cats,” a documentary on free-range felines in Istanbul, four times this weekend. (Screenings are April 29 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.; April 30 at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.).

They have roamed the capital of Turkey for thousands of years and they have a somewhat holy aura, as they feature prominently in many stories about the prophet Mohammed. Thus, ownerless cats are part of the city’s fabric, even as the metropolis grows to 20 million inhabitants.

To get enough footage for this 79-minute documentary, the filmmakers basically stalked various cats, following them into dark alleys and deserted basements and even flying drones over the rooftops to get certain shots. The result is an intimate view into the personalities and lives of the subjects.

Here are some of the stars of the movie.

Sari is a yellow-and-white tabby with yellow eyes who lives at the base of Galata Tower, one of Istanbul’s landmarks. She’s a hustler who begs, steals, forages…and usually gets what she wants. Some café and restaurant owners chase her away, but one shopkeeper provides her with a steady stream of food to take to her kittens.

Bengüi is a gray-and-brown tabby with emerald eyes. She lives among metal, chains, rope, and dust in the industrial Karaköy neighborhood, but she’s soft and cuddly. With her loud purring and ability to curl up her paws while standing still, she wins the hearts of many blue collar workers.

Aslan Parçasi has long, black-and-white hair and lime greens eyes. The Kandilli resident is constantly hunting mice and rats, often chasing them into sewers. He also hangs out at a popular fish restaurant, where he scarfs down the occasional leftover.

Psikopat has black-and-white hair, green eyes, and a serious attitude. She strides around Samatya, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, with a defiant gait and a piercing stare, seemingly looking for confrontation. Her favorite hang out is a tea house tucked behind an old church.

Deniz is an energetic, social butterfly with gray-and-white fur and green eyes. He’s kind of the unofficial mascot of a market in Ferikoy, where he climbs awnings, plays behind stalls, and falls asleep among boxes of tea.

Gamsiz is large with vicious claws and green eyes. He can climb every tree and balcony in Cihangir, an old artist section that is now a cat haven.

Duman has an aristocratic posture, green eyes and a bit of a beer belly. He lives in Nisantasi, one of the high class sections (naturally). He would never beg for food, but he paws at the windows of delicatessens and patiently waits for the waiters to bring him smoked meats and specialty cheeses. Sometimes he dives into dumpsters, which might explain his extra pounds.

Images courtesy of Museum of the Moving Image


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