THAT CAT . . . (1963) [Feature]

Czechoslovakia (MIFF 1964 )
Director: Vojtěch Jasny

The Czechs have always had a fondness and talent for fantasy and in That Cat they have found a particularly intriguing central theme. A small town suddenly finds itself transformed by the magical powers of a cat which usually wears glasses because without them people are revealed in their true colours. It is a story told to a class of schoolchildren by a delightful bearded character, and the tale comes to life when a magician and his troupe, including 1 beautiful girl, who owns the cat, arrives in town. There is panic when the cat's spectacles are suddenly lost and all the people are shown in their true guise. The town officials plot to kill the cat but the children, who adore it, stage a strike and go into hiding until the cats safety is assured. The mixture of realism and fantasy is admirably effected. Lavishly mounted, the film takes in ballet and mime, as well as directing a number of satirical barbs at hypocrisy and human folly in general. It is not just another comedy but a natural tender study of people and at the same time a feast of colour, magic and dance with a haunting theme tune. The cast includes a number of excellent young players together with mime artist, Ladislav Fialka, and veteran of the Czech theatre, Jan Wench.

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