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The Rabbi's Cat (2011)

Le chat du rabbin (original title)
Not Rated | | Animation, Comedy, Fantasy | 1 June 2011 (France)
Set in Algeria in the 1920s, a rabbi's cat who learns how to speak after swallowing the family parrot expresses his desire to convert to Judaism.

Writers:

Sandrina Jardel (screenplay), Joann Sfar (comic book series) | 1 more credit »

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3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Mathieu Amalric ... Le prince (voice)
Hafsia Herzi ... La fille du rabbin (voice)
François Damiens ... Le reporter (voice)
Karina Testa ... Une copine de Zlabya (voice)
Eric Elmosnino ... Le professeur Soliman (voice)
Jean-Pierre Kalfon ... Le malka des lions (voice)
Maurice Bénichou ... Le rabbin (voice)
François Morel ... Le chat du rabbin (voice)
Wojciech Pszoniak ... Vastenov (voice) (as Wojtek Pszoniak)
Mohamed Fellag ... Le cheik Mohammed Sfar (voice)
Joann Sfar Joann Sfar ... Le juif de la malle (voice)
Alice Houri ... Knidelette (voice)
Daniel Cohen Daniel Cohen ... Le rabbin du rabbin (voice)
Pascal N'Zonzi Pascal N'Zonzi ... Le premier géant (voice)
David Rit David Rit ... Le professeur de dictée / le marin (voice)
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Storyline

Algiers, 1920s. Rabbi Sfar has more than one problem. His beautiful daughter Zlabya is becoming a teenager and above all, his parrot-killing cat has just started talking. The delivery of a box from Russia further complicates things when a painter is discovered inside, more dead than alive. He is on a quest for a hidden tribe and its mythical city in Africa. Convinced that the city exists, he sets off on an incredible adventure, taking with him the Rabbi, his cat, a wise old Arab Sheikh and an eccentric Russian millionaire. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

cat | rabbi | russian | parrot | africa | See All (54) »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | Russian | Hebrew

Release Date:

1 June 2011 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Katze des Rabbiners See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

€12,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

€1,100,847 (France), 5 June 2011, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,301, 9 December 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$16,659, 18 January 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Awards: Nomination au prix du Festival du Film d'Animation d'Annecy 2011 * Nomination aux European Film Awards 2011. See more »

Goofs

Sheik Mohammed Sfar's talking donkey disappears as they follow along the rabbi in his journey. He later reappears following the tank, than disappears again along the film. See more »

Connections

Features The Adventures of Tintin (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Songs performed by Enrico Macias, Amsterdam and Klezner Band.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Nutshell Review: The Rabbi's Cat
10 April 2012 | by DICK STEELSee all my reviews

Winner of this year's Cesar Awards for Best Animated Film, The Rabbi's Cat directed by Joann Sfar and Antoine Delesvaux is based on a comic series by Sfar, which made the narrative seem a little bit too choppy as it sprawls from a focused introduction, to something of a wandering road trip for the second half of the film that didn't seem to have a point other than to drag it out beyond its welcome. Sure it had enough comedy and quirkiness thanks to the titular cat, but alas repetition doesn't serve it well when issues and comical moments get recycled.

The animation of course is gorgeous to look at given that it's something different from the usual Hollywood studio products, and hand drawn rather than something polished off a computer, or dabbling with the 3D gimmick (though I read elsewhere that there was a 3D version overseas, which is strange given the lack of usual 3D styled visuals). The cat itself requires a little getting used to for the way it's designed and drawn, looking quite unlike any cat you've seen, with its elongated facial features and an extremely long tail.

We follow the adventures of the titular cat, who got his speaking voice (by Francois Morel) thanks to an envy and fatal attack which we don't really get to see, against the parrot of his mistress Zlabya (Hafsia Herzi), the voluptuous daughter of the rabbi Sfar (Maurice Benichou), an easy going religious man. He speaks, to the surprise of his owners, and soon declares that he wants to be a Jew, and to complete the bar mitzvah, in order to get Sfar's approval to remain by Zlabya's side (he has the hots for her you see), instead of being chased away as a monstrosity with his new found voice, akin to being the work of the devil.

Much of the narrative for the first half of the film could be seen as an open discussion between religions such as Judaism, Islam and Christianity, set in 1920s Algeria where there's a clash of cultures with the French, as well as the highlighted differences between the various religions, factions and groups that co-existed at the time. One would need to be sensitive of Algeria in that era in order to milk the most of out this picture, given the lack of background focus as it jumps directly into discussions assuming one would be knowledgeable of the issues of the time.

But even if you're not, then the second half's road trip is probably where you can still follow, where a whole host of characters got introduced, such as an Arabic Sheik of the desert (Mathieu Amalric) with whom the rabbi, his cat and their entourage got into a tangle with, a Russian painter and an African girl that they pick up, and a surprisingly little episode involving a famous Belgian reporter and his dog. It's all downhill from there in their quest to find utopia, as the narrative meanders in too episodic a fashion without an end in sight, leaving things quite open ended in its finale perhaps promising of more adventures to come, but is probably a cliffhanger just like chapters in the comic books.


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