The Italian animated feature “Cinderella the Cat” uses little more than the title of Giambattista Basile’s 17th century version of the Cinderella story. The title character is reduced to a minor, non-speaking figure in this violent sci-fi tale of crime and vengeance.
Cinderella’s admirable father Vittorio Basile (voice by Mariano Rigillo) built an elaborate science facility on a huge ship in the Bay of Naples, hoping to revitalize the decaying city. But he was murdered on the day of his wedding to Angelica Carannante (Maria Pia Calzone), the moll of arch-criminal Salvatore Lo Giusto (Massimiliano Gallo).
For 15 years, while Cinderella has been enduring the mistreatment of Angelica’s five daughters and transvestite son, Salvatore has been crafting a baroque plot to smuggle cocaine by turning it into shoes. On the eve of Cinderella’s 18th birthday, he’s ready to launch his scheme. But Basile’s loyal bodyguard Primo Gemito (Alessandro Gassman) returns just in time to thwart the evil plan and rescue Cinderella.
The unexpressive animation never rises above the level of a video game, so the four directors have to rely on the seemingly nonstop dialogue and the holograms that pop up at convenient moments to relate the overly complicated story. The filmmakers seem to have been trying for the kind of animated film noir that has been done so skillfully in Japan, but “Cinderella the Cat” never approaches that level level.
‘Cinderella the Cat’
In Italian with English subtitles
Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills