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also known as Das merkwürdige Kätzchen

The Strange Little Cat2013

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  • 3.9
  • passes the bechdel test
Siblings Karin and Simon are visiting their parents and their little sister Clara. That evening, other relatives will be joining them for dinner. This sequence of family scenes in a Berlin flat creates a wondrous world of the everyday: Coming and going, conversations, all manner of doings, each movement leading to the next, one word following another. It is a carefully staged chain reaction of actions and sentences. And in between, silent gazes and anecdotes about experiences. Putting the absurdities of daily life on display, the film assembles seemingly unspectacular details and snippets into an exciting choreography of everyday life.

What makes this film worth watching? See All Reviews

"...everyday actions and conversations take on a syncopated strangeness and a balletic grace." Dennis Lim, the New York Times

7 members like this review

Charming and somewhat disturbing little movie. Cinematography breathtaking. Intriguing undercurrents of emotion expressed in minimal gestures and fleeting facial expressions.

C48f744245cb6f85a488bce9d323cab2? f 0022
top reviewer
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Member Reviews (25)

C48f744245cb6f85a488bce9d323cab2? f 0022
top reviewer

Charming and somewhat disturbing little movie. Cinematography breathtaking. Intriguing undercurrents of emotion expressed in minimal gestures and fleeting facial expressions.

7 members like this review
top reviewer

Subtle, funny, vaguely moving. Reminiscent of the best of Chantal Akerman, this is a director to watch for certain.

5 members like this review
top reviewer

Interesting movie. Do not expect to see a classic narrative, but a piece of family life in which you are thrown. Your are transported to a day of a family as if you woke up in the middle of the house, almost like another member, and you have to move around to let others move too. Without no explanation, without the information that, naturally, everybody have about each other and the family, you may want to make sense of the simple relations between them and the objects that surround them. It is a great exercise of observation, a question about how actually information is presented to us daily without us noticing how much we already know any given context. Great attention for the details and the relations hidden in little gestures, ways of looking to each other, object, space and so on. Beautiful.

5 members like this review
top reviewer

German people share random life stories and thoughts with relatives for 70 minutes. And it's awesome. Watch it!

4 members like this review
top reviewer

The film starts with an annoying little girl screaming her head off to the obliviousness of her family. That's kind of how I feel about the film. It made me want to scream at all the critics tripping over themselves praising this. Alfred Hitchcock said film is life without the boring parts. Another film director has stated that film IS the boring parts of life. You will either love this or hate this, depending on which side you're on. Hitchcock is my favorite director so you know which side I am on. A big 'meh'. That cat in the film sure would find these people incomprehensible, and that's how I feel about the film - and maybe that's the point. Who knows, or better yet, who cares.

3 members like this review
83d75ac5ff39ab72c53b1bafa3670e25? f 0011
top reviewer

This film was quite inspiring. Makes me think to myself: "say, why haven't I saved up for the best equipment possible to film something like this in my own private residential space?" Makes me think: "Wow! No pyrotechnics, no special effects? No generic narrative arc or action-packed plot... and, yet, still a great deal of enjoyment?!"

Other thoughts: (I feel the need to riff a bit on the film)

1. There's a fascinating interplay between what's on-screen and what's off-screen in this film.

2. More about 1.: an example of this "interplay": the scene in which the... uh... well, I guess... I'll... call her... the mother(?) of the household -- the scene in which that character is in the kitchen speaking w/ her daughter and the lights are off and she's talking (telling a story, if I remember correctly) when, suddenly, off-screen, we hear a man's voice; and no traditional cue-up of a cut-away to reveal who the newly entered character is; and, toward the end of this one-shot scene, this man's face remains off-screen and, it being quite dark in the kitchen, even with this person's back side encroaching on the frame space, we can never tell conclusively who it is that has intruded on this scene....

3. The essence, the significance of this interplay extends to other aesthetic facets of the film...

4. elaboration on 3.: definite relationships between characters remain "off-screen," too, so-to-speak--maybe the more appropriate term is "out of the movie"...

5. This is a film that is designed to elicit one's imagination: it's up to you, the viewer, to conjure the details of what's going on off-screen when all you have is a sound or a gaze from an on-screen character in some direction off-screen.

6. This is a film that is designed to make you question how characters relate -- which characters are apart of the supposed nuclear family and what characters are visiting... Sure some of them--the granny, for instance--we can identify definitively. Others, though? Not so much.

7. This is a film that selectively frames the goings on between people and pets and kitchen appliances in a middle class home and, somehow, it is as fascinating and exciting as a Hollywood blockbuster

8. This is an inspirational film that says, "c'mon, people, make movies like me?!: It's not necessarily easy to do (especially considering the levels of aesthetic intricacy achieved by this film) but it's doable

2 members like this review
top reviewer

There's nothing wrong with the cat, there's something wrong with this film, the writer, and the director. Excerpts: "I'm going to clean up the vomit and feed the rat", "The sausage is attacking us", "You crumpled up the shopping list", ten minutes later, cut to a close-up of the crumpled shopping list. By the end of the film, you can almost hear the cat thinking "I need a new agent".

2 members like this review
top reviewer

About 25 minutes into the movie there is a visual inventory of several items: a cup of tea, empty bottles, a moth, a glass of milk, orange peels. All of these items were handled or encountered - in some cases very briefly - by characters earlier in the film. In this way these items (many of which appear again later in the film) take on the burden of drama. In comparison, our experience of the characters feels fragmented - we simply eavesdrop with limited emotional investment as our attention is drawn elsewhere.

1 member likes this review
top reviewer

everyone is wonderful especially the girl_the timing is great

1 member likes this review

Love the soundtrack and cinematography. The conversations and interaction between the adults and the children is very peculiar.

1 member likes this review

The mundane parts of life can be quite extraordinary. Sure, the viewer needs a little patience. It's as if we are the cat spectator (like the dog to the purring cat in the beginning). The uncanny music intervention which plays whenever actors leave the scene always gets to me. The repetition of irrelevant things charges the snowball effect, forming what we call life. It's quite avant garde--making the ordinary extraordinary. It's the essence of Art=Life conception (though not many people think its a big deal because it's what we're so used to). People are so sick of life that they look towards the cinema for escape. But this film carries that sense of betrayal, as to say: life is just as strange, so observe it! Observe the Strange Cat!!

1 member likes this review

La Vie Quotidienne... Berlin style. Is Grandma dead?

Not sure what to make of it. I'll have to watch it again.

Nothing happens and entrancing. A balletic composition of prosaic specifics. As one critic noted--the camera stays still and figures move in and out as if on a stage. The movements of the animals underscore this. I like what Vita R below says about the film brimming with what is off screen as well as on. The theme seems to be family, with the mother as somehow central. more keys to her interior life are shown than that of the others. one hardly sees the father. I must re-watch to say more, but i was engrossed "despite" lack of plot.

charming and very weirdly funny at times. "Where's Clara?" "She is cleaning up the vomit and feeding the rat"

Intentionally ordinary. A structurally sound piece of art but not necessarily the most compelling viewing experience.

For the first fifteen minutes of Ramon Zürcher’s The Strange Little Cat (Das merkwürdige Kätzchen) we become intimately familiar with the layout of the kitchen in an apartment. Whilst the various members of the residing family and their two pets make their way through the space, the focus is not on what they say but where they’re looking when they say it; interacting with one another on and off screen, the sequence of shots and the characters’ lines of sight efficiently tell us a huge amount of spatial information. What makes The Strange Little Cat impress even more is the recursive shift to a focus on the relationships between and influences on each of the characters within this newly-mapped space. These intertwining elements make Zürcher’s film a consistently surprising and intelligent commentary on the oft-ignored inner complexities of daily life.

Possibly something happened at some point, but I couldn't get past the first 15 minutes. I might have hung in longer if they'd shown more of the lop-eared dog; he was the only animated character, and a cute one at that.

Static, uninteresting.

A routine day in the life of a 'nutty' family. There are visitors--one to repair the washing machine; others back from a vacation. Anecdotes. Grandma has dementia.

Could the be one day in the life of 'Girlhood.'?

This movie was crap!!!

Amazing how much "trivia" happens every day in life. This film captures that!

It is a gorgeous poem of a film on the absurd layering of quotidian life. Wonderful use of sound, text and color.


Weird movie with a cat.