Directed by Cedric Klapisch

Starring Garance Clavel, Zinedine Soualem, Renee LeCalm & Olivier Py

"When the Cat's Away"

Opened: July, 1997 (various play dates) | Not Rated

Chloe is one stressed out chick. A stuggling Paris makeup artist, she's put upon by magazine editors, looked down upon by the models and her self-absorbed roommate is driving her nuts.

In the first few minutes of "When the Cat's Away," it's clear that Chloe (Garance Clavel) needs a vacation, but she can't find anyone to watch her cat, Gris Gris. The snooty gay roommate won't do it. None of her friends are available. Eventually she leaves that cat with an elderly neighbor who has dozens of cats, so what's one more?

In a whimsical indication that Chloe will get no rest in this picture, her vacation is literally two seconds of screen time. She's shown on her way to the airport in Paris' busy streets, there's a two second shot of her in the ocean, then a shot her returning on the same noisy, buzzing street corner.

This facetious flavor carries through the film, as she spends the rest of the movie falling into everyday adventure while searching for Gris Gris, who ran away from old Madamé Renée while she was gone.

Searching the neighborhood with a posse of aquaintences (including an army of old cat-owner women), Chloe finds herself strangely liberated by Gris Gris' absense. She'd been using the cat as an excuse to be anti-social and now with him gone, she's getting out, making friens and meeting men. But things just never seem to go her way.

I should tell you now that this is a textbook chick flick. All the men in this movie are idiots, pigs, predators or gay. But in a charming way.

"Cat" is a clever comedy, but the laughs are subtle and therefore hard to describe. It's in the details, like the way her roommate's noisy eating habits are symbolically amplifed on the soundtrack. The movie is sublimely amusing, I just don't know exactly why.

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