The Case of the Grinning Cat

Director: Chris Marker
Year Released: 2004
Rating: 3.0

Essayist Marker uses the mysterious appearance of graffiti in and around Paris of a yellowy-orange cat by the name of "M. Chat" - grinning like the Cheshire Cat and demanding "freedom" - as a springboard to discuss the politics of post-9/11 France and the reaction to America's "War on Terror." As with Marker's other flights of fancy he tends to get carried away with himself, covering so much ground that the links between thoughts seem strained - and his preference for video isn't always aesthetically pleasing - but few (if any) filmmakers can make so much out of so little: it has the intimacy of a home movie, and Marker's been around long enough and observed enough protests and political turmoil that he can view the situation just like Carroll's famous cat, curious but detached. We are all, quite frankly, mad here.