In the magical city of Istanbul, Turkey, there will always be echoes of the Ottoman Empire, and there will always be cats…one hopes. The Turkish word “Kedi” means “Cat” and is also the title for the documentary by Ceyda Torun. This is Torun’s directorial debut into her first full-length documentary film. The film is about the thousands of stray cats that help shape the identity of Istanbul, similarly in how the cats help define Rome’s Colosseum. The film is a beautiful profile of the city and its landmarks, from the water front to the Hagia Sophia. There are stunning shots of sea and sky, and crisp and flowy aerial shots of the city and the jagged blocks that seem to fit almost on top of one another. At a street view are the bustling markets and fish vendors, there are pedestrians strolling and cars honking, and among these there are cats, cats, and more cats going “meow”, or “miiiyavvvv” if you purr in Turkish. Kedi features a handful of special cats and the people who tend to them. The wonderful aspect of the film is how lovingly the director portrays the cats and their people. There isn’t much of a story line or much of a dramatic arc, so viewers who are not cat lovers may want to skip it.Torun’s ode to cats is accompanied by beautiful cinematography and a compelling sound track. The structure of the “story” is tight so viewers get to know and recognize the cats and the people that express their own love and experiences with the cats. There is something comforting about the quotidian lull but there’s far too much of it and it begins to weigh on the stationary viewer. What is interesting about Kedi is not that it’s a film about cats, it’s that it presents to American audiences a portrait of a people and place on earth that they may look askance at due to the political situation. In this way the film is helping to strengthen human ties, even if it does rely on animal magnetism, similarly to how wine labels featuring animals sell more wine.