First be warned, this animated French tale about a cat burglar and his companion in crime, a cat, has been dubbed into English. Meaning English English—Brits who adopt a variety of comic vocal inflections (including one French accent—go figure). It makes no sense; the film is not called A Cat in London. Now be delighted: A Cat in Paris is a gem, a treat not to be missed by children or their parents (or animation-loving adults without kids). The graphic style of Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol is crisp, flat, and bright, their characters rendered with linework recalling the Matisse and Picasso of '30s Paris. There are even traces of Tintin, and a simple comic-book plot to suit. Her father recently murdered, her policewoman mother obsessed with the case, lonely little Zoe has an affectionate pet cat named Dino. When she goes to bed at night, Dino bounds across the moonlit rooftops and leaps from building to building, leading the honorable, rubbery-armed burglar Nico to the loot (mostly jewelry, and from rich people who won't notice it's gone). One such outing leads to a nest of gangsters—more comic than truly scary for kids—connected with the death of Zoe's father. But no more plot. The almond eyes, sailor pants, and tiny feet; the sun-washed checkerboard kitchen floors; the soundtrack strains of Billie Holiday and Django Reinhardt—all create a storybook Paris of the imagination, of the artist's easel.
Zoe and her loyal Dino.
Runs Fri., July 6-Thurs., July 12 at Varsity. Rated PG. 69 minutes.