When The Cat's Away

  • 1996
  • Movie
  • R
  • Comedy, Romance

A thoroughly charming, hip and congenial film that also manages to slip in some sharp observations about contemporary Parisian life, particularly the issues of gentrification and the timidity of youth. The story is undeniably slight: twentysomething Chloe (Garance Clavel) leads a lonely existence, living with her gay and romantically adventurous roommate...read more

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A thoroughly charming, hip and congenial film that also manages to slip in some sharp observations about contemporary Parisian life, particularly the issues of gentrification and the timidity of youth. The story is undeniably slight: twentysomething

Chloe (Garance Clavel) leads a lonely existence, living with her gay and romantically adventurous roommate Michel (Olivier Py) and working as a makeup artist to snotty models. Chloe's decision to take a break from her stressful job precipitates a minor crisis -- Michel refuses to take care her of

her black cat, Gris-Gris. An acquaintance introduces her to elderly, cat-loving neighbor Madame Renee (Renee Le Calm), and Gris-Gris is left with her. But when Chloe returns from her brief vacation, the cat has disappeared. A contrite Madame Renee puts her in touch with a network of neighborhood

busybodies, including the mildly dim-witted but unselfish Jamel, and the search for Chloe's beloved pet is on. Clavel's performance is as nuanced as those Krzysztof Kieslowski once elicited from such actresses as Juliette Binoche and Irene Jacob, but entirely without pretense or artificiality.

Suffused with a casual and endearing ambience (that occasionally turns unconvincingly ominous, purely in the name of drama), this sweet-natured picture manages to examine the barriers of race, class, age and sexual orientation that divide a neighborhood in the grips of gentrification, while

letting the search for the aptly named Gris-Gris (a gris-gris is a voodoo charm) provide a common ground that brings them together, if only for a couple of weeks.

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  • Released: 1996
  • Rating: R
  • Review: A thoroughly charming, hip and congenial film that also manages to slip in some sharp observations about contemporary Parisian life, particularly the issues of gentrification and the timidity of youth. The story is undeniably slight: twentysomething Chloe… (more)

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