WHEN THE CAT’S AWAY (aka CHACUN CHERCHE SON CHA) (1996)


Written & Directed By: Cedric Klapisch 
Cinematography: Benoit Delhomme 
Editor: Francine Sandberg 

Cast: Garance Clavel, Zinedine Soualem, Olivier Py, Renee Le Calm, Simon Abkarian 

Chloe, a young woman, is going on holiday. She entrusts her beloved cat to Madame Renée’s care. But one day Madame Renée (an old lady of the neighborhood) can not find the cat. Chloe starts searching the neighborhood… This is the pretext for the exploration of a quarter of Paris and his inhabitants.


A French film that starts with a simple premise of a young woman looking for her missing cat. That ends up leading to a bunch of adventures and experiences that usually involve some kind of romantic entanglement

This is the first film of French writer director Cedric Klapisch that I saw that perfectly sets up his usual bohemian style. His films work more as ensemble pieces with a main character in the middle. Who this story usually either revolves around or is at the center and cause for situations

As the movie goes on this is really a film about the neighborhood and its citizens more a kind of anthropology study to a degree. As we watch how they work like a well-oiled machine. With one another. While also watching how their quirkiness helps to guide and make connections for the main female character In The middle of all of this.

The film is eclectic and colorful and mostly fun than anything else, not Too dramatic. Yet at times romantic and showcasing how easily we can read into things and believe people at their words a little too soon before they have proven themselves.

This is a French film that was perfect for the time period and comes off as a quirky French film where you want to be in the movie or move into this neighborhood. As it is a classic neighborhood with more younger people moving in and experiencing it’s the charm. So that it feels like that French getaway you might have always wanted to experience in your 20’s so you would get the modern and old school In Equal measure. as you get an insider look at all around France and the different neighborhoods or districts as they prefer to call them

Though the film doesn’t really have too much to do with the story or plot. As you more or less follow Chloe, the main character on her journey, and get to feel or at least witness her experiences. So the film is kind of free form in a way without being experimental. As for all of its freedom, there still feels like there is structure here.

If you have seen his later films THE SPANISH APARTMENT, RUSSIAN DOLLS and CHINESE PUZZLE 

This will be a little familiar but allows you to see where it all started at least In theme. Though they are constructed they manage to surprise you and add color to the films through the characters. Who we get to know a bit about and get to spend a little time with. As they only add to the enjoyment of the picture.

GRADE: B

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