The Rabbi's Cat is a masterwork of animation

Originally published at: The Rabbi's Cat is a masterwork of animation | Boing Boing


Looks brilliant!

A very different style of animation, but My Life As A Courgette in recent years was also rather splendid, and of course Sylvain Chomet’s work is stunning. I was lucky enough to attend the UK premiere of The Illusionist here in Edinburgh back in 2010, and by gawd that’s quite a film to watch in the city in which it’s set. Wow.


Saw it in 2014. Interesting, although more a vehicle for an exercise in rabbinic questioning with the cat representative of an inquisitive agnostic. Mild arthouse novelty.


Well, damn, I feel like I’m missing out. Sylvain Chomet is incredible, of course. And Michel Ocelot has produced some gorgeous films, particularly Azur and Asmar. But beyond that, I’m not that familiar with the French animation scene. What other French animators should I be checking out?

1 Like

That’s one clever cat.


The Rabbi’s Cat is an absolute delight and one of my favorite animated films.

For many of you with a library card, it’s available for free on Kanopy.



The book is fantastic as well.

1 Like

As a francophone, I have the whole series. I love the bande dessinée from which the animation was done. Of course, as almost always, the books are better than the animation but the sheer beauty of translating the general aesthetic feeling of the original is quite mesmerizing.
Yes hard to believe it is almost a decade since the animation was published.
Which makes me remember that Les Maîtres du Temps (drawn by the stupendous Moebius, one of the best comic artist ever) is 40 years old today!


I cannot second this enough.

Also: The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales - GKIDS Films

1 Like

A whole bunch of titles, depends what you like! European animation relies on a lot of international co-production, it’s quite common for several countries and animation studios to get involved, and then they just don’t bother marketing to the U.S. This will hopefully change now that movie streaming is common. In the U.S., GKids imports several French titles, sometimes with subtitles, sometimes as a dub (passably; they don’t get high-end voice actors).

As someone mentioned, A Town Called Panic (2010) is an extremely absurd Belgian production - they started out doing silly 5-minute shorts (before Robot Chicken), then came the film, and every couple of years they release a new 25-minute special. To get a feeling for it, do a YouTube search for “Steven eating toast”. The same animators behind it also helped make two children’s films:

Ernest & Celestine (2012), a mouse and a bear, neither of whom fit into their respective societies, team up and become friends, when they’re supposed to be enemies.

The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales (2017), is actually three half-hour adventures packed into a film, it’s a charming comedic romp. There’s a so-so British dub.

The Rabbi’s Cat (2011), based on a comic, is set in 1930s Algeria about a slightly conservative rabbi whose cat gains the power of speech. Doesn’t have your typical narrative structure; there are running themes about tolerance and intolerance, but it’s not hitting you over the head with any message.

Le jour des corneilles (2012) (Day of the crows?) A feral boy is being raised by an ogre father, who’s told him he’ll cease to exist if he leaves the forest. But when he becomes injured, the boy has to seek help, and ventures to a nearby town.

April and the Extraordinary World (2015), is a good steampunk adventure set in an alternative historical timeline of Europe. Some environmentalism worked into the plot. Goes in some unexpected directions!

The Girl Without Hands (2016), all the animation was done by one person! So it’s an artistic experiment in minimalism, and it’s surprisingly effective. A re-telling of a Grimm’s fairy tale.

Princesse Dragon (2021) - I haven’t actually watched this one, only seen a trailer. It looks like it’s about a feral girl, raised by a dragon, who sets out to discover the human world? Also has an evil frog-witch of some sort?

And there was a recent trailer for an upcoming French animated film called “Icare”, exploring the Greek mythes of Icarus and the Minotaur. (Search for the phrase “bande announce”, which means trailer.)


For more french, and beyond, anime:

1 Like

I find interesting work through the Folimage studio channel on YouTube, and festivals like the Annecy Animation Film Festival and the Animation First Festival. Annecy is an international event, however, it generates coverage from (and about) French animators:

Here’s one of my faves, Une vie de chat:


Have you visited the Gobelins Ecole d’Image channel?

They usually make the vignettes for the Annecy Festival.


This is a nice cartoon but it could be somewhat NSFW. Interestingly, this cartoon is usually broadcast on open TV in the afternoons and is distributed by a Catholic publishing house in Brazil. Every local millennial knows the theme song by heart.

1 Like

Mais bien sûr! :wink:


Trying to figure out how I’d never heard of this before. Thanks for the rec!

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.