The Sideshow

Meet the man behind Henri the existential cat

The Sideshow

The Web is full of cute cats, but none can hold a candle to Henri.

In a wildly popular series of clips, the black-and-white cat laments his pointless existence in French, while subtitles scroll below. The videos are an homage to existential cinema (not exactly a recipe for popularity), but have still managed to score millions of views.

William Braden is the filmmaker behind the hugely successful series. He spoke with Seattle's KING-5 about the creation of Henri (real name: Henry), the feline's booming popularity (nearly 100,000 Facebook friends) and the secret to his success.

"What I'm parodying, I have a little bit of reverence for," explains Braden, who is careful to keep the clips to about two minutes in length. "If you're going to be parodying existentialism, you have to actually have read a little bit of existentialism, as painful as that can be sometimes."

For Henri, life is full of pain. The cat doesn't even enjoy Halloween. "None of these costumes are truly scary," he says in one video. "No one ever dresses as crippling self-doubt."

The videos have lead to a booming enterprise for Braden. There are shirts, mugs and laptop skins for sale. And, Henri even has a book filled with his musings. Not that sales will bring him any degree of contentment.

Below, one of Henri's two-minute shorts.

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