As the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival slips into its final days we wanted to share with you another film we say by the name of “Le Chat Du Rabbin” (“The Rabbi’s Cat”).
This 3D animated adventure is set in the 1930s in Algiers, Algeria. Rabbi Sfar has more than a few problems to deal with. His young daughter Zlabya seemingly leap-frogged from childhood to a teenager, he has recently been asked to take an exam in French to continue being a rabbi, and above all his parrot-eating cat just gained the ability to speak. His Cat who has a love affair with Zlabya (and actually belongs to his daughter even though he follows the rabbi) keeps plenty of humor floating in the film and has many questions in the film. His most noted wish was “why can’t I have a bat mitzvah?” Rabbi Sfar has a rabbi over him as well, and when his cat got a hold of him he pressed the issue even further, “You say I can’t have a bat mitzvah because I’m a cat and not human? That God made you in his image? Well then can you show me a picture of God?”
The story brings about more excitement and adventure as their cousin Lion Malka comes to visit, the rabbi’s cat helps him study for his french exam, and they receive a box filled with jewish books from Russia along with a young boy!
This sequence of events leads to the discovery of new friends, important discussions and contrasts on religion, and a much-needed adventure. The Cat (who stays nameless in the film) is hilarious with his quick wit and smart responses to things. I was impressed that the film was screened in 3D and they did a pretty fair job with it. The style of animation gives it a century old feeling so it wouldn’t be appropriate to have objects flying at your face but it does give the artwork a nice complement.
“The Rabbi’s Cat,” directed by Joann Sfar, is based on the adult graphic novel and is the winner of the French César for Best Animated Film. It’s entertaining as well as educational which is why I can give this a 9 out of 10.
Look for more in our next issue about the AJFF and great films like The Rabbi’s Cat!