Henri, le Chat Noir ([lə ʃa nwaʁ] ; French for "The Black Cat") is a web series of short films on the existential musings of the tuxedo cat Henri, written and directed by William Braden. Henri (originally Henry; born 2004 is a male longhair tuxedo cat. He was adopted from the Seattle Animal Shelter in Seattle, Washington. Videos featuring Henri have been viewed millions of times, and have been featured by news outlets such as The Huffington Post and ABC News.
The first short film Henri was a film project by William Braden who was studying at the Seattle Film Institute. Braden was inspired by the American perception on French films viewing them as "very pretentious and self-involved. [...] And what could be more self-absorbed and pampered than a house cat?"
Braden wrote the scripts while his mother, who is fluent in French, helped with pronunciations and proper usage. Henri was written, filmed and edited in eleven days.
Henri was released on May 27, 2007. Henri was written and directed by Will Braden and produced by the Seattle Film Institute.
The second short film Henri 2, Paw de Deux was released on YouTube in April 6, 2012. Henri 2, Paw de Deux won the "Golden Kitty Award" for "Best Cat Video On The Internet" at the Walker Art Center's Internet Cat Video Festival. On September 8, 2012, Henri 2, Paw de Deux was shown on television during the season finale of Animal Planet's reality television show My Cat from Hell.
In receiving the award, director Will Braden told Mashable "This is a great honor. I don’t think I’ve ever purred this loudly."
The third short film Henri 3, Le Vet was released on YouTube in June 20, 2012.
The fourth short film Henri - Politique was released on YouTube in September 27, 2012. Henri - Politique was produced as an example entry for The Seattle Times's political video contest.
The fifth short film Henri 4, L'Haunting was released on YouTube in October 30, 2012.
The sixth short film Henri 5, "The Worst Noël" was released on YouTube in December 21, 2012.
Friskies commissioned a series of four short films on the subject of "cat food boredom".
The first part of this series Henri - "On Cat Food Boredom" was released on YouTube in February 28, 2013.
The second part was released in March 13, 2013.
The third part was released in March 27, 2013.
The fourth and final part was released in April 15, 2013.
The eleventh short film Henri 6, "Cat Littérature" was released on YouTube in April 30, 2013.
The twelfth short film Henri 7 - "The Cat is Sat" was released on YouTube in Aug 28, 2013.
The thirteenth short film '"Henri 8 - "Artiste"' was released on YouTube in January 7, 2014.
Ten Speed Press, a subsidiary of Random House, released the book Henri, le Chat Noir: The Existential Musings of an Angst-Filled Cat written by Will Braden on April 30, 2013. A subsequent book, entitled "Reflections on Human Folly" was published on paperback in 2016, and was the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. However, according to most comments on the Kickstarter project page for the book, hardly any backers had received copies as of January 2017, despite multiple promises by the author to make good on his pledges.
Film critic Roger Ebert called Henri 2, Paw De Deux "The best internet cat video ever made." Boing Boing's science editor Maggie Koerth-Baker also called Henri 2, Paw De Deux "The best cat video on the Internet". The Atlantic reviewed the short film as "a little bit arty, a little bit cheeky, decisively feline in focus ... it's perfect. Or, er, purrfect."
The Huffington Post, in reviewing Henri 3, Le Vet, called Henri "almost like a feline Serge Gainsbourg, just without the singing, or the alcoholism, or the public scandal. Or maybe he's not like that at all. Maybe Henri, is, as he so eloquently states in his latest film, his 'own cat.'"
According to The Seattle Times, Henri does not live with Henri, le Chat Noir creator William Braden, who says that Henri's actual ownership is a "private matter."