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The Case of the Grinning Cat


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The Case of the Grinning Cat + A Grin Without a Cat + The Sixth Side of the Pentagon / The Embassy
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Product Details

  • Actors: Chris Marker
  • Directors: Chris Marker
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Icarus Films
  • DVD Release Date: September 2, 2008
  • Run Time: 58 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001BXNB60
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #271,149 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In his most recent film, Chris Marker reflects on art, culture and politics at the start of the new millennium by embarking on a cinematic journey through Paris to track down the mysterious appearances of grinning yellow cat paintings all over the city.

Plus 7 Bonus Films!

- A Bestiary (5 short films on animals):
Cat Listening to Music (3 min.)
An Owl is an Owl is an Owl (3 min.)
Zoo Piece (3 min.)
Bullfight in Okinawa (4 min.)
Slon Tango (4 min.)

- Three Cheers for the Whale (17 min.)
Co-directed with Mario Ruspoli

- Leila Attacks (1min.)

Review

Lively, engaged, and provocative! --J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

Critic's Pick! --Time Out

Further evidence of Chris Marker's exhilarating wit...an exceptional flight of conviction...the director s wisdom remains robust. --Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dominique Elliott on February 20, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Chris Marker holds a unique place in cinema, with an approach to his subjects that is intensely personal, philosophical and poetic. This film is a fascinating study of social and political state of Paris and French politics following the events of September 11th and the ensuing war in Iraq. It is not unlike "Le Joli Mai" a 1962 documentary by Marker that focused on the state of mind of Parisians immediately following the end of the Algerian War. Both films, made 40 years apart, capture with humor the ironies of political activism, of political manipulations, and of hopes lost and regained.

The cat, an animal worshiped by Marker, is fiercely independent and "never on the side of power." He serves here as the backdrop for Marker's musings through the streets and the subway. The grinning cat appears over the rooftops of the city, in tunnels, on sidewalks, and finally in political protests. Real cats also punctuate the film, most notably "Bolero," a cat who resides in the metro station of Strasbourg St Denis.

One of the final scenes (mentioned by another reviewer) is a reference to a murder that captivated the French media's attention for months: the brutal murder of actress Marie Trintignant by her boyfriend Bertrand Cantat, a French rock singer. Marker speaks of the ways in which tragedy quickly turns into a form of merchandizing, perhaps one of the most telling signs of our times.

This is a film essay with an English narration. The narration is well translated and captures the appropriate tone. Some of the graphics in French and the shots of advertisements and signs might get lost on the viewers not familiar with the language but the film will still be highly accessible regardless.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By redoubt on January 15, 2009
Format: DVD
I think this is a wonderful DVD. The main film is charming, clever, and has more to say than is obvious straight away. The shorts that are with it are worth the price of the DVD all by themseves. I particularly loved the short CAT LISTENING TO MUSIC. And there is a somewhat longer short doc (17 minutes) about whales which will break your heart. All together i think this is really one of Marker's best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cheshire Plays Chess on June 8, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film is part mystery and part political memoir. It starts in 2001 shortly after the terrorist attack against the Twin Towers in New York City. Suddenly grinning yellow cat graffiti began appearing all over Paris. Chris Marker engages in a treasure hunt for the grinning yellow cats and engages in a discussion of the politics of France during the period. It's an odd mixture, but it works. Some of the grinning yellow cats are drawn with paws outstretched as if to say "I have a hug for you!" to the viewer. One wonders if the grinning yellow cats, obviously inspired by Lewis Carroll's Cheshire Cat, are a political protest of some sort. Sure enough, they do eventually show up in street demonstrations. They even show up in French post office stamps. I think the artist of these cats should be declared a French national treasure. The mystery of who the artist is was solved three years after the copyright date of this film. "Mr. Cat" was caught in the act in March of 2007. He was arrested and got a 300 euro fine. Well at least the French were lenient. Graffiti artists have gotten far worse in the United States. He now makes a living from his art. If you want to know more you can google "Mister Cat graffiti: from Paris to Sarajevo."
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