Synopsis: In the city of Istanbul, there are more than just human inhabitants. There are also the stray domestic cats of the city who live free but have complicated relationships with the people themselves. This film follows a selection of individual cats as they live their own lives in Istanbul with their own distinctive personalities. However, with this vibrant population, is the reality of an ancient metropolis changing with the times that may have less of a place for them.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Ceyda Torun
Actors: Bengu, Deniz, Duman, Gamsiz
  4 wins & 19 nominations.
79 min

In Istanbul,

the cat is more than just a cat.

The cat embodies

the indescribable chaos,

the culture, and the uniqueness

that is the essence of Istanbul.

Without the cat,

Istanbul would lose a part of its soul

And theres nothing

like it anywhere else on earth.

Shes a real hunter now.

She wasnt like that before.

She changed after giving birth.

Before that, all she did was sleep.

Chilling here all day.

Sometimes I talk to her.

And she actually talks back.

Shes a solid character.

Shell stubbornly stand there.

Youll tell her to leave.

She won't, shell just stare.

"Im not leaving," shell say,

"where are you kicking me out to?"

"Ill be back anyway."

"What are you trying to do, wise guy?"

Shes really, you know, strong-willed.

Shes got personality.

Some cats really have character,

you can tell from their faces.

I think its wrong

to trap them in a house...

just so we can pet them.

There are millions of them out

there, we pet them all we want.

What matters is being on

the same frequency as them.

To communicate with them.

Besides, they can tell...

who likes them and who doesnt.

They notice.

And they give off good energy.

They absorb all your negative energy.

Were lucky. They do me good.

Its that time again.

Time to cruise. She comes and goes.

She came around one day.

I knew she'd been pregnant.

It was obvious she had given birth.

She led me to the back,

to show me her kittens.

Its so fascinating...

theyre just like people.

The love of animals

is a different kind of love.

People who dont love animals

cant love people either.

I know that much.



Come. Come, girl.

She was one of four kittens.

She was the scrawniest one. And the ugliest.

The other three left, she stayed.

Sometimes she makes me angry.

But why? Ive never thought about it.

I guess I must be in a bad mood.

But I never hit her or anything.

I tell her to leave but she never does.

She walks to the door and comes back.

Beng has been with us eight or nine years.

She came here as a kitten and never left.

Beng loves to be loved. Honestly.

She loves it when

you pet her she nearly passes out.

Its not the kind of

sappiness from old Turkish movies...

but I do look for her.

If I dont see her, or hear her voice

if shes not around

when I get here in the morning

I get worried and look for her.

Maybe she is like a child.

People miss their kids, right? I miss her.

Beng is very delicate.

If you pet another cat,

shell get jealous and sulk.

Shes very sensitive, Beng.

Thats it, thats the spot.

Thats the spot.

Shes done for. And then here.

And here.

Look at her delight.

You really know how to live.

Beng has given birth

but I havent seen where.

Try attacking her kittens

and youll see another side of her.

Ive heard they'd always

keep a cat on board a ship.

To absorb your excess energy.

I know soil does the same thing.

Prayer beads do the trick for me.

This cat is good for me too.

Besides, weve gotten used to her.

Shes become one of us.

Coming and going unconditionally.

And endless conversations too.





They cant just fly away like birds.

Its our responsibility

to take care of them as best as we can.

It is said that

cats are aware of Gods existence

but that dogs are not.

Dogs think people are God, but cats dont.

Cats know that people act

as middlemen to Gods will.

Theyre not ungrateful, they just know better.

Petting a cat gives me

a peculiar sense of security.

Even though

we dont speak each others language...

we immediately form a shared language.

I imagine having a relationship with cats

must be a lot like

being friends with aliens.

You make contact

with a very different life form

open a line

of communication with one another...

and start a dialogue.

And theyre

very foreign to us, very different.

Whether physically, mentally, or in capacity

theyre very different.

Yet, were able to have

a relationship with them.

Of course

I cant take the place of their mother

but I do what I can.

I wonder if I should feed them again.

Alright, alright, Im gonna feed you.

When theyre full, they dont make a peep.

Theyre really hungry.

Someone dumped them over by the shops.

Then they brought them over here.

Relying on me being here.

I had an incident with a cat,

itll shock you if I tell you.

About fifteen years ago

my boat was docked

over there, it sank in a storm.

I had barely managed to pay for it.

Sold whatever I had.

But got the boat.

I barely had it a week and the boat sinks.

Then, Im walking over by the rocks there

its extraordinary

what Im about to tell you.

Im walking along, I see this

cat, pointing me to a wallet.

A cat the same color as this one no lie.

Exactly that color.

Meow, meow!

I thought, whats up with this cat?

Does it have rabies or something?

I was a bit scared.

So I went to have some tea.

But something kept

bothering me to get the wallet.

Even the tea guy asked if I was OK.

I said, I dont know,

something strange is going on.

I got up, took a look inside the wallet

I swear, I needed 120 lira

and there was 120 lira inside that wallet.

Whoever doesnt believe this

story is a heathen in my books.

Can you imagine? God Almighty.

What is that if not a godsend?

Thats how my love for animals began.

After I found that wallet,

I started caring for cats.

But taking care of cats isn't easy.

I have to give them milk,

if Im gonna keep them alive.

These guys are quite big, they should survive.

But neglect them for

a couple of days, theyd surely die.

They survived in that box

because its warm in there.

And that chubby one

came along and became a mother to them.

He keeps them warm.

I guess they think hes their mother too.

Both a father and a mother.

Hes both a father and a mother to them.

- You have two children at home, right?

- Yes, I have two.

So you know what its like to be a parent.

Oh, its tough.

Whether we like it or not,

there are rats that live here by the sea.

And because were people,

we dont give them space to live.

But admittedly, they are a pest...

and its not good for them

to be around where people eat.

We considered rat poison,

weve used that in the past.

But just when we decided

to let the rats die on their own

this little lion of a cat showed up.

He takes care of them at

night, as nature dictates.

We didn't tell him to hunt the rats,

he took it upon himself.

To tell you the truth, he earns his keep.

You know the saying,

"do justice to ones love"?

Thats what he does.

He does justice to the love he gets.

Were grateful to him.

Life is beautiful.

If you know how to live.

You can love if your heart is open.

Everything is beautiful

when you look at it with love.

If you can enjoy

the presence of a cat, a bird, a flower

what can I say,

all the world will be yours.

She is the toughest of all the females.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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