Based on several stories of his graphic novel, director Joann Sfar’s tale about Jewish identity in 1920s Algeria is a vibrant and snappy animated film. After eating a talking parrot, a rabbi’s cat is instantly blessed with speech. When he’s not debating the merits of the Talmud or yearning for a bar mitzvah, he’s serving as a Greek chorus to the wide array of characters from different religious and geographical backgrounds that constantly philosophize and bicker with each other. The film shifts gears halfway through when it becomes a road movie; the sequences that follow hop back and forth between drastically serious and laugh-out-loud funny, including a reference to Tintin that had me roaring. While the story can be a bit inconsistent and a chore to keep up with at times, the crackling, old-fashioned animation never falters. This clever, engaging cartoon for adults is a rare gem.
Director: Joann Sfar and Antoine Delesvaux
Producer: Antoine Delesvaux and Joann Sfar
Cast: François Morel, Maurice Benichou, Hafsia Herzi, François Damiens, Mathieu Amalric, Jean-Pierre Kalfon, Mohamed Fellag and Sava Lolov