|Chien et Chat
Chien et Chat, the latest directorial effort from Reem Kherici (Paris à tout prix (2013), Jour J (2017)), is a comedy rich in humor and suspense, plunging audiences into a captivating road trip between Montreal and New York. This daring comedy stands out for its innovative concept, featuring two improbably linked duos: Diva, the Internet's feline star, and Chichi, a stray dog at the heart of a jewel heist.
Reem Kherici adopts a different tone with Chien et Chat, unveiling a universe where animals speak and become the protagonists of an epic adventure. The filmmaker shares her passion for making animals talk, an idea she's nurtured since she was 7 years old, and it's evident in her third film, in which her direction allows us to discover an adventure rich in twists and turns, with no downtime and a masterful cast.
The film is also rooted in Reem Kherici's personal experience, drawing on a period of her life in Canada and her love for her Maine coon cat, Diva, who becomes the story's muse. The influence of the wintry Canadian setting and the fascination with Diva's unique personality translate to the screen, offering an appealing visual aesthetic. Chien et Chat explores universal themes of discovering others, overcoming prejudice and growing up, for both human and animal characters. This approach recalls the great classics of the animated genre (notably Disney's Aristochats), adding an educational dimension to the entertainment.
The cast, including Reem Kherici, Franck Dubosc and Philippe Lacheau, adds a fresh touch, with committed performances and surprising counterpoints. The addition of the voices of Inès Reg for Diva and Artus for Chichi helps to bring these animated characters to life, with dialogue that is sometimes crude but skilfully measured to elicit laughter without offending young audiences. This third film is a real dynamo of the romantic comedy genre, and is a perfect choice for a Valentine's Day cinema release.
The film's major technical challenge lies in the 3D realization of the animal characters, which was brilliantly met by Station Animation. The digital effects, particularly in the frozen lake scene, bear witness to the mastery of the work, even if the production had to juggle with a more modest budget than equivalent American productions. Admittedly, the film doesn't match the level of recent American blockbusters, but it shows that with a smaller team, it's possible to achieve a masterful result.
Laurent Aknin's soundtrack is a skilful accompaniment, adding an emotional and rhythmic dimension to the story. The music, four years in the making, blends perfectly with the film's atmosphere. It took the director seven years to complete her film, and she proves to be as skilful a writer and director as she was in her first role.
Despite all these strengths, Dog and Cat cannot avoid certain pitfalls, notably dialogue that is sometimes too explicit for a younger audience, and surreal scenes more reminiscent of a comic-book universe. However, the director manages to maintain a balance between family entertainment and her own humorous style, much to our delight.
Chien et Chat offers an entertaining family cinematic experience, combining comedy, adventure and reflection. Reem Kherici succeeds in turning her dream into reality, even if the process has been fraught with difficulties. The film deserves praise for its boldness, creativity and ability to appeal to a wide audience.
Dog and Cat
Directed by Reem Kherici
Produced by Jonathan Vanger, Christian Ronget, Sidonie Dumas, Franck Samuel, Pierre Coré, Éric and Nicolas Altmayer
Written by Reem Kherici, Tristan Schulmann
With Franck Dubosc, Reem Kherici, Philippe Lacheau
Music: Laurent Aknin
Director of photography: Dominique Fausset
Editing: Antoine Vareille
Production companies: Gaumont Production, La Station Animation, Mandarin Production
Distributed by Gaumont (France)
Release date: February 14, 2024 (France)
Running time: 86 minutes
Seen on February 4, 2024 at Gaumont Disney Village, Room 9