ISTANBUL, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- A film festival dedicated to cats is running in Istanbul, evoking deep emotions among movie-goers toward cats in different cultures.
The film festival was launched on Jan. 12 at Pera Museum of Istanbul under the theme of "Meow! Did Cat Eat Your Tongue?" and nine movies from France, Germany, Austria, Japan, Turkey and the United States that narrate heart-warming stories about cats are being shown.
"Pera Museum's permanent movie theatre Pera Film, in its first show of the year, pays tribute to a phenomenal creature: cats," said Fatma Colakoglu, the film and video curator of Pera Film.
"We selected cats as our theme because we realized that cats have a different nature in cinema and more and more films across the globe are focusing on them as either main characters or as important supporting characters," Colakoglu told Xinhua.
She said interest in the event is definitely beyond expectations and is driven by an ever growing sensitivity among residents toward the welfare of street cats.
Some movie-goers waiting at the entrance to the cinema hall for German movie "The Strange Little Cat" spoke of the importance of cats to people living in Istanbul.
"The Istanbulites are always in a loving relationship with street cats, they feed them, shelter and groom them very well," said Ahmet Gucu, a resident in central Beyoglu district.
"You may come across cats wandering around streets, in plazas, shopping malls, subway stops or even sleeping in shop windows," he said. In his view, all doors in Istanbul are wide open to cats and they seem to be the real owners of the metropolis.
"Kedi," a Turkish film which presents Istanbul from the perspective of a street cat, is among the most popular movies being shown through the festival.
"In Istanbul, cats are the mirror of people, allowing them to reflect on their lives in ways nothing else could," a movie review writes.
In the view of Colakoglu, residents in Istanbul are eager to learn how other cultures in the world treat cats and how do they relate to them, while the film festival provides a very good opportunity for them.
She referred to "Rent-a-Cat," a Japanese movie about a lady renting cats to lonely people to help them fill the emptiness inside their hearts.
The festival lasts until Feb. 4.