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The Private Life of a Cat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Private Life of a Cat is a 22-minute 1947 black and white experimental documentary film by Alexander Hammid and Maya Deren.[1][2] summarises that the film is an "intimate study" of a female cat who gives birth to a litter of kittens and shows their maturation.[3]


The film is entirely silent and shot from the cat's eye-level;[4] "He", an all white short-haired male cat, grooms "She", a fluffier female. After two months they find a spot "for the family", and soon after the mother goes into labour. The film shows graphically the kittens being born without the help of human hands, and then getting nursed and washed by their mother. The kittens grow, and the parent cats roam freely around their owners' apartment (Hammid and Deren). The kittens learn how to walk and begin to get more active, playing with each other and clawing various furniture. The film then ends by showing the same scene from the beginning where "He" courts "She".


Top Documentary Films rates The Private Life of a Cat 7.70/10 stars, saying that it is "very touching", and that it is "[b]eautifully photographed and executed. With subtitles, no dialog, and a refreshing absence of human beings on screen."[5] Dangerous Minds wrote "[t]his beautiful 1944 silent film from husband-and-wife team Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid is quite possibly the only evidence we need that cats are the ultimate well-spring of creativity."[6]


  1. ^ "In the Mirror of Maya Deren" (PDF). Zeitgeist Films. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 6, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ DVD “Maya Deren: Experimental Films”, Mystic Fire Video 2002
  3. ^
  4. ^ Michael Lawrence and Laura McMahon, ed. (2015). Animal Life and the Moving Image. British Film Institute. pp. 48–49. ISBN 9781844579020.
  5. ^
  6. ^

External links

This page was last edited on 14 January 2021, at 14:50
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