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The Case of the Grinning Cat (2004)

Chris Marker , Chris Marker  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

List Price: $29.98
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The Case of the Grinning Cat + Remembrance of Things to Come + A Grin Without a Cat
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Product Details

  • Actors: Chris Marker
  • Directors: Chris Marker
  • Format: 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: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001BXNB60
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #277,667 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

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

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.)


Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
(5)
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original, intelligent, whimsical January 15, 2009
By redoubt
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A playful film by an extraordinarily original filmmaker 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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4.0 out of 5 stars Cats' City-Life Narrates Hope for Us April 14, 2013
Format:DVD
The Case of the Grinning Cat by Chris Marker is shot in Paris on DV camera with narration in english and episodic french. It is a document of the presence of the image of a cat in Paris's inner-city social movement in 2004 from the presidential election through to the gulf war and the tragedy of a celebrity crime. The cat makes the case for a separation between the enforcement of criminal acts and the acts themselves, reported through politicians. At one time Marker suggests taking the opportunity to see the image of a cat over following the news of the war, as he wanders through egyptian statues of cats in the museums. But what if the cats are erased from sight? A message that has taken the place of the channels meant for transmitting the subjects of the state to war. We believe in the cat. If it is not there then we don't and tragedy takes the place of hope.

The 5 other short films of animals take over from the hidden complexes of human drama with a soundtrack to accompany, as pieces of home movie.

The horror of massacre of the whales takes the form of a picture book. A harpoon scene closes the story with the beauty of the whale shown as an extinct presence.

The last film is proof of the absurdity of epistomology. The sense of relief makes the price of this DVD worth it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leila The Cat Catches Mice May 20, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
We are also presented with other animals who played an important historical part in out lives.
Leila the cat represents the only animal that adopted humans. Scientists from the University of California at Davis say that just as humans came from the rift zone in East Africa, cats originated in Egypt. Their ability to catch and eat mice made them valuable to us as we moved from being hunter-gatherers to raising grains for food.
I had a cat who liked to catch mice and bring them into my house and release them. She was proud of her skill in catching mice, but bringing them into the house live seemed a bit extreme to me, but not to her.
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9 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I don't know... September 11, 2008
By MarkusG
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
After seeing La Jetee, The Case of the Grinning Cat felt like a disappointment. The film is like a walk through Paris after 9/11, Marker follows protesters against Bush, Chirac, the Iraq war etc etc. Interspersed btwn the protests and related stuff are sightings of graffitti in the form of a grinning yellow cat (see the dvd cover). Marker finds this a mystery and tries to document the phenomenon. Here also follows some meditations on the cat as a symbol, and how it appears in stories like Alice in Wonderland etc.
The cat part is the interesting part of this film. It reminds of the Glaneuse-movie by Markers french new wave collegaue Agnes Varda (but Vardasfilm is much better). Anyway, the cat is intriguing and Markers quest to find out more about it begins well. But what is less interesting is the protest-part of the film. This feels so non original and flat. And why do I have to hear Markers smug remarks upon the validity of the protests, especially when they just reproduce the streamline leftist view? Boring. This is interesting only as a document of the times around 2001 in Paris with protests against government and Bush. And the problem is that Marker seems to become so fascinated by the protests that he forgets the cat (ok, he sees the cat on a sign in one of the marches against something, and this is obviously super interesting to Marker).
And can someone explain to me the last 10 minutes of the film? What has this story about an artist-turned-murderer got to do with anything? And what about the cat?
Bottom line: this film is worth watching, esp if you're into Marker and french film, but I can't really say that it is worth paying $25 for.
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