The Cats Short Film Review

★★★

Directed by: #AlejandroRíos

Short Film review by: Brian Penn

A feline view of the world is explored in this curiosity from Mexico. How does one of nature’s great roamers become emotionally dependent on a human owner? A weather beaten street cat is befriended by an elderly man seemingly trapped in solitude. He reaches for a teacup; a matching piece remains on the shelf. An evocative melody plays on a gramophone as he drifts off to another place. Bereft of human companionship the man now finds kin amongst a clutter of cats. They return for nourishment and affection but only while it suits. One particular cat has an unusual reason for a swift return to its benefactor. We get a cat's eye view of life as shapes change to represent symbols of survival and sustenance.


An animated feature without spoken narrative naturally places emphasis on strong visual images. It draws the sharpest of contours with a traditional approach to animation that becomes a refreshing antidote to the sterile perfection of Pixar Studios. A limited budget gives the film a certain edge; much like a rough cut or rushes in post-production. The earthiness of Watership Down readily springs to mind as a more natural hue takes centre stage.


The story begins to unwrap as the viewer is gently lulled into a false sense of security. The serenity of an elderly man finding comfort suddenly turns very dark. The film delivers an unexpected twist in what initially appears to be a standard tale of man and beast in perfect harmony. An inventive, well-constructed piece could really have used another five minutes just to properly tie up the narrative. Even so, this is a strong and haunting film with visuals that endure in the memory.