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The Rabbi's Cat (Blu-ray and DVD Combo Pack))
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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*
- Bonus Documentary on the Filmmaker: Joann Sfar Draws From Memory; Making Of Featurette; U.S. Trailer
Grade: A. Gloriously rich! Sharp and thrilling --The AV Club
Colorful, witty and inspired --Variety
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
A few comments prompted by other reviews here:
No, this is not a "children's cartoon". It is smart and witty and layered and targeted to adults. Americans are still not used to this idea, but it is a well established, and wonderful, use of animation. Likewise, the graphic novels are not "comic books", but are targeted toward intellegent adult readers. However, I would disagree with the notion that the movie is not suitable for children. Perhaps not all children, but I think most enjoy intellegent and well crafted movies as much as anyone. There are scenes that are dark and deal with death and loss, and some violence and bloodshed, and, yes, even sexuality in the movie. Some children may find this upsetting, but I suspect that it is the parents that will be more disturbed. Parental discretion and all that.
Regarding the narrative structure: doesn't follow a coherent story arc, but rambles on from one adventure to the next. This is, in part, a product of it being patched together from the adventures of several graphic novels, but it is also simply part of the story. Life rambles and, other than birth and death, has not begin get or end. This is a story about life, about characters who are facing life, and examining life, sometimes in radically different ways. No morals or conclusions, that is left for the viewer to provide. Some see this as a negative. I think it is part of the brilliance of the film.
The books have been translated into English and I recommend them, as well as other graphic novels by Sfar
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Entertaining all the way through if you have a sense of humor. Not for the closed minded. Best animated film I've seen since The Illusionist.Published 2 months ago by Natalie Beattie
One of the most delightful movies I've seen in a long time. Thoughtful, irreverent and darling by turns, it's a wonder.Published 4 months ago by Olivia C. Myers
Wonderful, hilarious, sarcastic and smart! Excellent film. Not really for kids. Knowing some historical background/history of Jews, Muslims and Christians (and Arabs) in the Middle... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Talia
One of the most brilliant animated films I have seen in years! Extremely heartfelt and warm characters.Published 4 months ago by tyler armstrong
I was hesitant about this film, I don't remember why though. Anyway, I enjoyed this film so much that I watched it three times in a row! The animation is odd in a compelling way. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
What a delight! Clever, with a kind view of humans, drawn with love and respect. The characters won us from start to finish.Published 6 months ago by Timothy A. James
This is one of my favorite movies. It does not deserve any big awards, and it is not for everyone, but there is some thing just so special about it to both me and my wife. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Jeff B
The movie was not at all what I thought it would be, it is certainly not for children. I don't like the morale of the movie, it is violent, sexual, antireligious in my opinion. Read morePublished 13 months ago by charlot4