Man’s best friend may be on trend right now in celebration of Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, but one of the film’s major antagonists goes unanswered for. Why does everyone hate cats? The felines are associated with tyrannical politicians, inherently opposed to the plucky pro-dog protesters, ultimately reminding audiences of the other way you can spell the film’s title to praise canines. While dogs provide a reliable amount of bounce and sure-fire optimism, there’s something more slippery and dangerously powerful about cats in cinema’s history books.
More than stylistic or comedic accessories, cats on screen are given great responsibility. To mirror, to enhance or to question the humans they stand alongside (or pleasantly perch on), the biological differences don’t necessarily limit the narrative or symbolic scope. It’s important now in a moment of incomparable evolution, in a long overdue recognition of diverse voices and faces, to celebrate the pivotal, poignant history of fantastic felines that still continue to shape human stories. Past a binary determination of cartoonish evil or warmth, there is depth to be considered in order to better appreciate the wisdom that cats so graciously share with humans – when they want to.
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