for Cinetalk.net

An Academy Award winner, Austrian filmmaker Alexander Hammid, a creator of the Czech avant-garde movement of the 1930’s, director of the classic of experimental cinema Meshes of the Afternoon (which he created with Maya Deren), shot and edited The Private Life of a Cat in 1944.

The Private Life of a Cat is a Black and white silent short, part narrative, part documentary, a 22-minute account on the lives of a cat family. Meeting, mating (no graphic sex scene, so the principle of immaculate conception is an option even for cats), etc. And you get to see our lady mustache giving birth to her kittens in graphic details. Follows household and life lessons by mom, while dad does almost nothing but watching the scene.

More than just throwing images our way The Private Life of a Cat is a lesson in shooting and editing for its sense of movement and continuity, like in other works of the man with the movie camera. The cat dresser sure did a fine job and the cats do their things for the cam like the director was a tomcat meowing the shots. You get plenty of feline attitude with decent acting (in fact better than a lot of professional actors). Plus the lady cat has some great features: the eyes and the fur coat (see photo).

If you’re interested in a precursor of a whole genre, which led to the Internet craze of today, by a pioneer of the movies, The Private Life of a Cat is genuine stuff.

Advertisements