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The Rabbi's Cat (2011)

Mathieu Amalric , François Damiens , Antoine Delesvaux , Joann Sfar  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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The Rabbi's Cat + The Painting + A Cat in Paris
Price for all three: $53.41

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Product Details

  • Actors: Mathieu Amalric, François Damiens, Hafsia Herzi
  • Directors: Antoine Delesvaux, Joann Sfar
  • Format: Animated, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • 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: Unrated
  • Studio: Gkids
  • DVD Release Date: May 7, 2013
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00ATK00TW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,644 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Endearingly loopy…lush! --The New York Times

Grade: A. Gloriously rich! Sharp and thrilling --The AV Club

Colorful, witty and inspired --Variety

Product Description

Based on the bestselling graphic novel by Joann Sfar, award-winning filmmaker (Gainsbourg) and one of France s most celebrated comic artists, THE RABBI S CAT tells the story of a sharp-tongued feline philosopher brimming with scathing humor.

Algeria in the 1930s is an intersection of Jewish, Arab and French culture. A cat belonging to a widowed rabbi and his beautiful daughter eats the family parrot and miraculously gains the ability to speak. Along with the power of speech comes unparalleled sardonic wit, and the cat spares no group or individual as it skewers faith, tradition and authority in a provocative exploration of God, death, lust and the search for truth. Rich with the colors, textures, flavors and music of Mediterranean Africa, the film embarks on a cross-continent comedic adventure through colonial Algiers and under vast Saharan skies in search of a lost Ethiopian city.

*In French with English Subtitles*


Special Features


  • Bonus Documentary on the Filmmaker: Joann Sfar Draws From Memory; Making Of Featurette; U.S. Trailer

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray
I offer a litmus test. If you adored Sylvain Chomet's "Triplets of Belleville" but were bored with "The Illusionist", this film won't work for you. Myself, I thought the colors and drawings were artistically incredible ... something like Arabic or Hindu painted miniatures. Alas, there really is not much of a story. It is instead a tale of a journey by a Sephardic rabbi, an Islamic musicologist, and a Russian Jewish painter who are searching for a hidden Jerusalem in Ethiopia where Blacks and Jews co-exist in peace. Along for the ride is the rabbi's "talking cat" - a creature which loves arguing and commenting on everything when he's not being pampered by the rabbi's voluptuous daughter. Since the rabbi is a religious man, they discuss differences in customs and spirituality and beliefs...and why that matters.

The half of the film that take place in Algiers, 1930 is simply stunning. Beautiful blue pools, Persian carpets, exotic buildings, and mosaic tiles. For that alone, I give it 4 stars. As well as the fabulous music! The discussions between the characters were engaging but they did become didactic after a while. One of the great moments is the decision by the cat to obtain a bar-mitzvah, and the objections of the orthodox community (in whatever land) to such an insanity.

The major problem of the movie is lack of a coherent narrative. Perhaps that is life itself - lack of a coherent narrative - form speaks substance.

I wish to highly recommend the extra - the autobiography of Joann Sfar - which is a fascinating exploration of how vision is reinterpreted into art. For example, the voluptuous Rabbi's daughter in the animated film (and the book upon which it is based) is based on the "personality" of the artist's grandmother, if not her looks.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray
Although released under the GKIDS label, I'm going to start out by saying that "The Rabbi's Cat" is not an animated feature for children. It is undeniably geared toward adults or, at least, teens with an awareness of the world around them. The film discusses religion, racism, and violence and is thought-provoking in a surprisingly comedic way. This feature won the César Award in France for Best Animated Film and is based on Joann Sfar's series of graphic novels. Truthfully, without knowing anything about the movie, I really didn't have a strong desire to see it. I imagined the worst when I read about a talking cat offering wit and insight into a myriad of weighty topics. But I'll watch anything, you never know where that next great surprise is going to come from! Well, for me, this was it! I absolutely loved "The Rabbi's Cat!" The movie is smart, silly, sophisticated, and scathing. There is much to admire in this 89 minute movie, and the DVD/Blu-Ray also boasts some impressive extras.

Bonus:
1) 12 page excerpt from the graphic novel. This is a neat addition, you see that the film catches both the spirit and the look of the piece to perfection.
2) Joann Star Draws From Memory: A documentary feature (just shy of an hour) that sits down with the artist and filmmaker. I didn't know anything about Sfar, but found him to be an interesting subject.
3) Making-of Featurette
4) Trailer
Also of note: Sometimes these GKIDS features or other International animated releases will have an English dub option (of which I'm not a particular fan). "The Rabbi's Cat" does not. This is a subtitled release.

"The Rabbi's Cat" is set in Algeria during the thirties.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal Animated Film March 29, 2014
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
A fantastic film, luridly animated with a gentle, humorous, and philosophical script! The Rabbi's Cat is one of the most impressive animated pieces I've watched in a quite while. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars dvd March 15, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Very beatiful movie !!! I recomanded it with any hesitation ! Run to buy it, it is a very great deal !!!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant June 21, 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
The French have a well deserved reputation for off-beat works of genius and this is one here. I will not say a word about the extraordinary plot but the typical close-to-the-nerve Jewish humour is hilarious. The animation and music is exceptional. I loved it! Treat yourself. The English subtitles move a bit fast if you do not speak French and they are a bit on the small side but I found that no impediment to a wonderful night at the movies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I love it! June 11, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
great animation film. Good for all ages. Terrific animation. Funny, witty and moving. Wonderful soundtrack. Good buy, it deserves to have it on your shelves.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray
I was really looking forward to this newest release from the GKIDS company. The first animated film I got from them was the wonderful "Chico and Rita" - which I raved about when it played in theaters and then on BD. Next came the "Tales of the Night" which was much darker in image and storyline. This film has a bit of both with a nice sense of humor.

My fellow reviewer K. Harris has already told you much about the 89-minute film and the DVD so I won't repeat it but add some clarification.

This DVD, like Tales of the Night is in French with English subtitles. The problem - and it a big one, in my opinion, is that the font is not only smaller than most subtitles but they are in WHITE letters. Since many scenes have a white background, it is very often impossible to completely read the subtitles. I know I missed some great lines. Interestingly one of the two bonus features - "Johan Sfar Draws From Memory" (which is 43 minutes, long; not the " just short of an hour" described by K) uses YELLOW subtitles which are easy to read! The best subtitled films either place the subtitles below the images or use these bright yellow ones. I hope that GKIDS will consider this in the future. The other bonuses are the U.S. Trailer and a 24-minute "Making of" in French with WHITE subtitles - but a bit larger than the feature film.

So, I'd have given the film itself 5 stars for story and production but I have to deduct 2 stars for having to struggle through the small and hard to read subtitles. (This may not affect you as much if you have a LARGE-SCREEN television).

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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