The Case of the Grinning Cat (Chats Perches)

Rated NR 58 minutes 2006

The film takes the viewer meandering through Paris over the course of three years--2001 to 2004--ostensibly in search of a series of mysterious grinning cats whose stenciled image has sprung up in the most unlikely places: high atop buildings all over the city. The film begins in November 2001 in a Paris still fresh from the shock of the September 11 attacks on the U.S., and where newspaper headlines read "We are all Americans." Over the next year, in the lead-up to the Iraq war, the city's youth march in numerous demonstrations for all manner of causes as the filmmaker continues his pursuit of the mysterious cats. He finds them again, to his surprise, showing up as the emblem of the new French youth movement. "Make cats not war!" street art is the flip side of the idealism and exuberance driving the young people marching in protests the likes of which Paris hasn't seen since the mythic events of May 1968.

Film Credits

Director: Chris Marker

Cast: Gerard Rinaldi

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