Bela: The Cat Man of the French Riviera

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Paul Trillo shot this short documentary on a day in the life of street performer Bela Erdei.

His act features his beautiful domestic cats, during the Cannes Film Festival 2011.

The visually appealing and lyrical piece juxtaposes Bela and his traditional profession with the ambiance at Cannes during the May festival. It’s a gem


This Life With Cats contributor is captivated by San Fransisco filmmaker Paul Trillo’s documentary portrait Bela: L’Homme Chat, featuring a colorful street performer following a family tradition of working with animals, and set in Cannes during this year’s film festival. The mix of the filmmaker’s eye and perspective, the subject and the setting combine in a way that is compelling, at least to this viewer.

Bela is affable and engaging yet able to give back and defend himself when confronted by people who disapprove of the act. Mr Trillo nicely shows a variety of reactions to Bela, his appearance and his cats, which range from bemused to appreciative, to angry.

Some viewers may find Bela and his way of life charming and picturesque, or at least interesting, while others may agree with those passers-by in the video who berate  him for supposed abuse of the cats by putting them into the act.

Bela: L’Homme Chat, produced by Real Idea Studios, 2011.

8 thoughts on “Bela: The Cat Man of the French Riviera”

  1. You made my day.. Hard to tell what I feel now. Maybe it’s the first time I’m proud to be Hungarian in connection with animals and especially cats. It’s sad that you share this video but it doesn’t get any attention in my country. People here should focus on real values. You do it, absolutely : )
    Thank you!

  2. I am trying to find a way to send a msg to Paul. I had been having a lousy week and just happened to have been in Aix when Bela was purrforming, or should rather say that the cats were performing. It made my day complete. Bela asked of me one thing… to say Thank you to Paul, because “I speak English”. I am a cat lover also… he makes many people smile with his , I hesitate for words, “act”. Beautiful cats

  3. Meghan,
    I’ve sent you an email from my personal email account. Please look for it. Thank you, Karen

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