The Rabbi’s Cat is what I would call a pleasant surprise; I went into this film blind. I had no idea other than it was an animation, of what it was about or the back story. You see this film was originally a 5-part comic series, which was highly popular in France from writer and artist Joann Sfar.
Joann Sfar co-wrote the script with Sandrina Jardel and co-directed with Antoine Delesvaux, based upon different aspects of the comics. It does feel like it has different pieces placed together, but it does some how work. The story here is set in Algeria in the 1920’s, with a Rabbi, his daughter and their cat. The cat after he eats their loud parrot suddenly is able to talk. The first words he speaks are a lie but he shows interest in wanting to learn about Judaism. It doesn’t stop there however, as a surprise guest will lead them on a memorable journey.
Unless you are familiar with the source material, this is a film best explored with as little prior knowledge as possible. It is just delightful to see this all unfold and not knowing what to expect. Our cat is our storyteller; we see the world through his eyes and with what he tells us. The deep seeded story here felt very personal, especially in regards to the moments when the cat places modern science against that of religion and the conversation moves towards how to balance those two.