Sunday, November 2, 2014

Animation, Music, and Title Sequences: A Cat in Paris

"In Paris, a cat who lives a secret life as a cat burglar's aide must come to the rescue of Zoe, the little girl he lives with, after she falls into a gangster's clutches."
—IMDB's description of A Cat in Paris (AKA Une vie de chat)

Rated PG for mild violence and action, plus some thematic material.

The creative team who put this film together did an excellent job combining animation (the style a mix of Cubism and Art Deco) with a jazzy, noir-esque OST. A snippet of this can be seen/heard in the title sequence in the below video. I just spent the last half hour trying to figure out specific HTML coding hijinks required by Blogger which would allow me to set the start and end time for this video, but my tech skills are apparently lacking. Skip to 2:13 and watch until 3:09 to see the title sequence.

The use of colour also helps set the tone.

This film has greatly increased my appreciation for animation as a serious form of storytelling. From the end of the nineties up until now, I have found that most forms of drawn or computer generated animationat least in the Western Hemispheretend to be light-hearted (The Triplets of Belleville and The Iron Giant are both obvious exceptions to the rule). Cartoons out of the '30s thru to the '60s were oftentimes quite creepy or incredibly violent (I'm looking at you, Disney and Warner Bros.). The '80s saw a regression into that same sort of darkness with films like The Brave Little Toaster and The Land Before Time...both of which I am sure will let loose some repressed nightmares tonight as I sleep. Such strolls through the uncanny valley aren't exactly my cup of tea.

I prefer animated films not for their superficiality but for being fantastical with a touch of realism. A Cat in Paris pulls this off by including a few of those 'darker' facets of life and portraying them in a not-so-fearsome light. Child abduction? Sure. Graphic child abuse? Hell no. Pets that protect their human companions? Sounds great. Animals that maul people? Not so much. The above may be construed as hypocritical as I adamantly believe in free speech/free art, but while I do not think any animated films should cease to exist simply because I do not agree with their storytelling techniques on a personal level, that does not mean I have to enjoy watching them...or, indeed, even watch them at all.

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