CHATS PERCHÉS
THE CASE OF THE GRINNIG CAT

Director: Chris Marker

Screenplay: Chris Marker

Running time: 58’
Production: France, 2004
Rating: Not Rated
Gauge: DVD (color)
Genre: Documentary

Distributor: First Run/Icarus

 




" Marker uses his left-leaning sensibility to critique liberal fecklessness. In his digital-video eye, the happy flash mob that begins the movie seems scarcely different from the sundry youth-driven protests, marches, and rallies he captures later on".
Wesley Morris, Boston Globe

 


In his newest film, French cinema-essayist Chris Marker reflects on art, culture and politics at the start of the new millennium. In November 2001, he became intrigued by the sudden appearance of grinning yellow cat paintings on Paris buildings and public surfaces, and began to document the mysterious materializations of this charming feline. Purportedly looking to solve the mystery of this unknown artist, dubbed M. Chat, the filmmaker uses it instead as a springboard to examine the city's changing social climate -- from the pro-American feelings generated shortly after Sept. 11, to the anti-Bush and Iraq War demonstrations that have become so prevalent. He also looks at the demonstrations that took place during the 2002 French election that saw right-wing centrist Jacques Chirac defeat right-wing extremist Jean-Marie Le Pen. Eventually, the creator of the grinning cats is revealed to be an art collective known as Mr. Cat whose members are shown painting a massive representation of their mascot on the plaza in front of the Pompidou Center. Marker concludes with thoughts on the vital importance of such expressions of art and imagination in our public lies, echoing the May’68 slogan that “La poésie est dans la rue” (“Poetry is in the streets”).

 
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