Happy existential holidays from Henri, Le Chat Noir


Happy holidays from everyone’s favorite existentialist cat and YouTube star, Henri, Le Chat Noir.

The melancholy feline has released “The Worst Noel,” a new video based loosely on Charles Dickens’ novella “A Christmas Carol.”

The video opens with Henri philosophizing that the holidays are “just another excuse for the world to intrude on my solitude.” Annoyed by everything, he retreats to sleep, where he can truly be alone.


Meeting Henri, Le Chat Noir

(Kudos to filmmaker Will Braden for his artful effects work in this section. The dreamtime effects look really cool, while staying true to the film’s 1940s and European influences.)

In his dream, Henri is visited by the three cats who share the house with him, and each teaches him a valuable lesson about himself and the holiday spirit.

From l’imbecile blanc -- a white cat that even in real life is actually quite dumb -- he is reminded of his own youth and the value of innocence. From a gray cat that he often overlooks, he learns the value of being in the moment and paying attention to the world around you. And from an old, mean cat who won’t let himself be pet or cuddled, he sees a vision of his own future that he wants to avoid.

In the end, he shares his favorite treat -- Friskies Party Mix -- with everyone.

2012 has been a big year for Henri, who is played by a very sweet and not morose cat named Henry. He and director Will Braden won the people’s choice award at the first ever Internet Cat Video Film Festival, held at an art museum in Minneapolis, and Braden got a Lifetime achievement award at the Friskies -- another cat video festival sponsored by the cat food brand.

In the fall I traveled to Seattle where Henry and Braden live and got to meet both the filmmaker and his star in person. If you want to learn more about them, you can read my story, or watch an online interview that we did after the story was published.



Meeting Henri, Le Chat Noir

How to watch the cat video film festival at home

Battle of the Santa trackers: Google takes on NORAD