A Cat in Paris: This Parisian cat's tale is sweet and inventive animated film, with a dash of noir.
“A Cat in Paris,” recently nominated for the best animated feature Oscar, is a lovely surprise. Best of all, it’s a lovely surprise in 2-D. You do remember 2-D, don’t you?
Both a French and an English version are getting theatrical release. I saw the English version, accompanied by the voice work of, among lesser lights, Marcia Gay Harden, Anjelica Huston, and Matthew Modine. Whichever version you end up seeing, the star attraction here is the quietly elegant, occasionally near-abstract visual design, with its links to artists as diverse as Picasso, Edward Hopper, Ben Shahn, Modigliani, and Matisse.
These visual references are for the delectation of the cognoscenti, but directors Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol aren’t conducting a tutorial here. The references function as art history in-jokes and touchstones; but even if you don’t pick up on them (as most children won’t), it doesn’t really matter. It also doesn’t matter if you don’t recognize the vast array of allusions to classic Hollywood film noir movies, or neonoirs like “Reservoir Dogs” or “Goodfellas.” Either way, this cornucopia works for all ages, all levels of learning.