Francis is the new cat in town as his human owner moves them into a new home. As soon as they arrive however, Francis discovers a murdered cat in his back yard. He decides to investigate as to who would commit such a terrible crime, and more importantly, why?
Based on the novel of the same name, Felidae is a crime story that pulls very few punches. Made in Germany in 1994, and apparently holding the record as the country’s most expensive animated feature to produce, this is a remarkably hard-edged film. The character designs are not far from your average 80s Disney or Don Bluth-type feature, but it makes no attempts at cheap humour to make light of its serious content. Felidae is not a subversive comedy nor an arthouse curiosity but a straight attempt to make a mainstream film for an adult audience. Sinply put it’s just a good film.
The story is lengthy and suitably convoluted as Francis delves deeper into the mystery, discovering more victims, a sinister cult, animal experimentation and ultimately a bigger conspiracy that brings all the parts together. There are leaps in logic and all too convenient coincidences throughout, but it helps the film keep a decent pace and is not too distracting from the overall impact. I cannot emphasise enough as to Felidae’s dark side to sensitive viewers. Apparently fine for 12 years olds in Germany, but I’d land this is strictly in the UK 15 camp with its blunt depictions of violence and sex and one of Francis’ dream sequences being particularly disturbing, and completely brilliant. I like to avoid spoilers, but yes be assured it’s pretty crazy at times.
To my knowledge there is no official release of Felidae in any English-speaking territory, however the German DVD does contain a full English dub and is well worth seeking out. There are no subtitles, but the dub holds decent performances and is foulmouthed enough to convince me that it faithfully retains the original German vibe. Felidae is unique, and very much worth seeking out.