The Strange Little Cat
Three generations of a German family unite in an urban apartment for a family meal in this slow and sometimes hypnotic feature. Rarely do we see the characters leave the kitchen for long, which gives a not-unpleasant sense of claustrophobia. Food is prepared, Grandma naps, the washing machine gets fixed, people drink milk and kids play with remote helicopter toys. More and more people show up.
The Strange Little Cat suffers from a lack of protagonist. The characters are almost all so aloof that it is hard to be attached or to care about anything they do. The exception is Clara, the youngest child, and she seems like a natural choice for a point of view. She has childhood to put her strangeness into perspective. She screams along with the blender and the espresso machine, but in a world where you are marginalized and told what to do, this seems to make a lot of sense.
I enjoyed the screen time given to the family cat and dog -- as much as is given to most of the many family members who come and go constantly. We are often told in the film how crazy the dog and cat are, but there is nothing strange about them at all. Perhaps they are meant to be the only normal ones, but the family itself does not seem overly eccentric or weird. They sometimes lapse into reverie and tell a serious story about a mundane feeling or event, but this supposed oddness never quite rings true.
I think that first-time director Ramon Zurcher was attempting to make a quirky, understated scenario which would slowly gain momentum in its collection of details. Most of the elements are enjoyable and they do come close to achieving something, but to just miss the mark.
The film plays on September 27th at 9:30 pm at SFU Woodwards and October 10th at 2:00 pm in the Rio Theatre.