TIFF19: All Cats Are Grey in the Dark

I’ll be honest. Until I watched All Cats Are Grey in the Dark, I did not know the first thing about breeding cats. Now, having seen it, I have a much better idea of what is involved. It is safe to say I will not be getting into the business anytime soon, but it’s good to know it could be my life if I’m looking for a career change.

Christian, on the other hand, has clearly decided that cat breeding is for him. And he is all in. His cats go everywhere with him, whether on a ferry to another country, to a ski resort, or to what I can only assume is a European Costco. I realize that is not an extremely long list but All Cats Are Grey in the Dark is not an extremely long film, so there were probably more destinations that didn’t make the cut.

I would have been interested to see more of the world surrounding Christian and his cats, because the few shots outside Christian’s home are my favourite parts of the movie. Those scenes really capture the separation between Christian (and his cats) and literally everyone else. Christian may or may not be aware of the distance his cats create between him and others, and he may or may not care, but it’s obvious and striking how much of a barrier is put up by a person having two cats on his shoulder as he goes about his day. He sits alone at the slope-side bar, there is no one else in sight at the pet store, and his veterinarian is the only person Christian talks to directly during the 18 minute runtime of All Cats Are Grey in the Dark.

[Editor’s note: Although Sean has just told you the film is only 18 minutes long, I feel the need to tell you that he paused it somewhere in the middle because he was “so hungry I could eat a cat.” He had cereal. – J ]

Which is not to say that there is no other dialogue. Christian is very chatty with his cats, Marmelade and Katjuscha, and the three of them seem quite happy to do their own thing, especially when that thing involves staring hungrily at mice at the aforementioned EuroCostco (it’s exactly as pictured in Tom and Jerry). More accurately, Christian seems happy, because cats always seem angry no matter what they are doing.

Still, despite the happy facade, I can’t help but feel sad for Christian as he lives in self-imposed exile. Most of all, I can’t help but wonder how much different his life would be if he had just gotten a couple of dogs and, through them, brought the rest of world closer instead of pushing it away as the guy with two cats on his shoulder.

[Editor’s note: Sean makes this sound like a pretty gloomy movie, and I suppose maybe it is, but he watched all the way through the credits “In case there’s a post-credit scene!” so I guess there was something special about it after all. – J ]

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