If you hadn’t guessed already, “kedi” is the Turkish word for “cat,” and they are the titular stars of this beguiling documentary set in Istanbul. The film became a surprise hit with audiences and critics alike when it was released in theaters in February. If it slinked past your local multiplex, you’ll have a chance to watch it on YouTube Red exclusively in May.
While the Internet has habituated us humans into watching 30-second video clips of cats doing the darndest things, Kedi elevates its exotic (and mostly feral) felines into intriguing cinematic protagonists. They are much more than just pesky strays; for the local Turks who live and work among them, the cats are beloved neighbors who all have their own dramatic storylines and distinct purr-sonalities.
At turns adorable cat movie and mesmerizing (and educational!) travelogue, we don’t recommend trying to watch it at work during your lunch break. Kedi is well worth the 80 minutes out of your day and is viewing fare for the whole family.