Historia de una gaviota y del gato que le enseñó a volar (1996, The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly) is an amazing novel by the Chilean writer Luis Sepúlveda, for children from 8 to 88 years of age, as the author declares:
In 1998 the Italian director Enzo D’Alò created an animation, La Gabbianella e il Gatto (in Engl. as Lucky and Zorba), based on the novel. His vision met with Sepúlveda’s approval who even agreed to give his voice to the character of the Poet in the animation. It is a “must-see” because of the touching story, artistic values, and a wonderful soundtrack. And the Antiquity-lovers will discover in the movie the traces of the Trojan myth:
The Poet and his daughter live in a port city, they help a group of street cats and they feed birds. Both the book and the movie transmit a powerful ecological message, however, without moralizing, but in a deeply touching way. The protagonist is the cat Zorba who comes to know – in dramatic circumstances – a young seagull Kengah, wounded after the contact with “the curse of the humans”, that is a petrol spill due to an oil tankship disaster. She knows she is dying, so she uses all her strength to bear her egg and she beggs Zorba to make her three promises. (1) Not to eat the egg. (2) To incubate it. (3) And to learn the chick-to-be-born to fly. Kengah indeed dies and Zorba – “who always keeps the promises he makes” – becomes a cat mother-father for the little she-seagull who soon comes to the world. With his friends, he names her Fortunata (diminutively Fifì, in English Lucky), as she was lucky enough to be under their protection. As time passes, Fifì growns up, thinking she is a cat…
The charming story merits to be discovered in full directly, while reading and watching it, so here we will focus only on the ancient motif that appears in the animation. At a certain point Fifì gets kidnapped by the rats. The cats prepare a rescue expedition. They consult the Encyclopaedia, owing to the help of the library cat Diderot. They find the right strategy under the letter “H”, that is Homer and the myth of the Trojan Horse. A short council brings the clear plan: Zorba and his friends know what an equivalent for the Trojan Horse to use: a huge loaf of cheese – the Trojan Cheese, inside of which they will hide to jump unexpectedly at the rats:
Will they succeed? And will Fifì-Lucky learn to fly? See for yourself and enjoy the story embedded in the timeless mythical tradition.
Text by Katarzyna Marciniak
“Siamo gatti” – “We are cats”, a song from the movie (Italian version):