Customer Review

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Visually Splendid Animation Attached to Philosophy Lessons, January 15, 2013
This review is from: The Rabbi's Cat (Blu-ray and DVD Combo Pack)) (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. How interesting. And the look of Algiers is shaped by the artist's memory of the colors of his birthplace on the French Riviera. We learn that 100 per cent of the Jews of Nice are originally from Algeria.

This is animation for adults...worth a peek!
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