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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Schaack|
by Akif Pirincci
|Music by||Anne Dudley|
DEM 10 million|
Felidae is a 1994 German adult animated neo-noir crime film directed by Michael Schaack, produced by Trickompany and written by Martin Kluger, Stefaan Schieder and Akif Pirinçci based on Pirinçci's 1989 novel of the same name. It includes the voices of Ulrich Tukur, Mario Adorf and Klaus Maria Brandauer. The story centers on house cat Francis and the grisly feline murders taking place in his new neighborhood.
Francis, an intelligent and cynical cat, is moved to a gloomy, dilapidated house with his owner Gustav Löbel, an archaeologist and short-story writer/erotic novelist. During Francis' exploratory tour of the house, he smells a chemical odor emanating from the topmost floor. When Francis walks to the back yard, he discovers a cat's corpse. At the crime scene, he meets and befriends Bluebeard, a half-blinded Manx. Bluebeard tells Francis that this has been the fourth death in the past month. While trying to take a nap in a new home, Francis suffers a nightmare in which a demented figure wearing a laboratory coat puts him in a chained collar.
Soon, Francis discovers another body and the fact that his house's top floor is the meeting site of a sect of cats led by Joker; the members of the sect worship an entity named Claudandus and perform ritualistic suicide by throwing themselves in an electric current. When Francis' cover is blown after he saw Bluebeard inside the meeting site, he is chased through the city's rooftops. He escapes through a skylight and meets a cat who is "not blind, but cannot see" named Felicity, who supplies Francis with information on the Claudandus sect. She reveals that Claudandus was a cat who lived in their area years ago, and was tortured relentlessly by humans. He is hailed as a savior among the local cats, who to this day pray for him. Felicity also reveals herself to be aware of the murders that have occurred. While she never actually witnessed them, she listened to the sounds that were made during the events. She doesn't believe them to be deliberate murders, but believes them to be results of sexual intercourse among cats that have gone too far. Felicity states that so far, the death cries have only come from male cats, and could tell that they were sexually excited shortly before their deaths. She also heard conversations between the then-alive victims and a person they know. She couldn't make out what they were saying, but did sense the urgency in this person's voice, as well as persuasive conviction. She believes that he was trying to tell them something of great importance. The next day, Bluebeard takes Francis to Pascal, an elderly and tech-savvy cat who has taken to meticulously maintaining a list of feline deaths in the area, through which Francis learns that Felicity is the latest victim. As he races back to her to save her, and possibly catch the killer, he comes across her body, her head laying nearby. That night, Francis is haunted by a nightmare in which Gregor Mendel leaves him with riddles.
During a rodent hunt, Francis discovers a video recording that documents the top floor's previous use as an experimental laboratory that was devoted to the research and development of a tissue adhesive that would close wounds in an instant. The test subjects largely consisted of stray cats. However, the serums usually failed, causing the animals to suffer painful deaths. The one cat who survived the experiments was christened by the lab's technicians as "Claudandus", Latin for "He who should or must be sealed". The video recording ends with the lead researcher, Professor Julius Preterius, attempted to release Claudandus from his cage, believing to be able to speak to him. The murders seem to point to another cat named Kong. However, while escaping Kong and his goons, Francis comes across a female pregnant cat named Solitaire, who was disemboweled. Kong reveals she was his mate and is heartbroken over her and his unborn kittens' deaths, leaving the trail cold.
Francis has another dream, though this time, it is not a nightmare. He dreams of meeting a brightly colored cat, who introduces himself as "Felidae". This cat persuades him to join him on a long, wonderful journey. Francis soon wakes up, and immediately hears the calls of a female cat in heat. Upon finding the source of the calls, he discovers her to be a cat whose breed that he doesn't recognize. Upon asking her about her breed, she only gives a cryptic answer, saying that it is "old and new". He then tries asking for her name, but the amorous female cat claims it doesn't matter, and instead insists that they copulate, which he complies without question. Later, Bluebeard finds Francis resting in the bathroom, having been drained from his time with his amorous new acquaintance (which apparently lasted most of the day). When Francis informs Bluebeard about the she-cat he met, and how she looked different from them, Bluebeard reveals to be aware of her breed, and states that they are in many ways different from them. Not only have they been recently been taken in by humans as household pets (to which Bluebeard claims to be a death wish), but for some reason, they lack the same healthy trend to domestication found in most cats. This makes them more feral and more solitary, to which Bluebeard considers makes them "dangerous".
Francis gradually traces the neighborhood cats who descended from the strays involved in the experiments and is confronted by Pascal, who reveals himself as Claudandus. He reveals that he killed Prof. Preterius shortly after he released him from his cage and was taken by one of the researchers, during this time he learned about the Mendel Genetical Theory and plans to create a breed of genetically engineered cats to wipe out humanity. The murdered cats, now including Joker, were deemed unworthy of breeding with the pure females that Claudandus had engineered. An additional obstacle in Claudandus' plot is the fact that he is terminally ill with stomach cancer. Although Claudandus deems Francis an ideal successor, Francis defies Claudandus' ambition and attempts to delete the data that Claudandus had gathered. The ensuing fight between the two results in a fire, where Francis eventually disembowels Claudandus, killing him and flees the scene with an injured Bluebeard.
After the fire, Francis is reunited with Nhozemphtekh and they walk home.
- Ulrich Tukur as Francis, a cat detective who is new to the district and befriends Bluebeard and Pascal.
- Mario Adorf as Blaubart/Bluebeard, a disfigured Manx cat who spent his childhood in Professor Preterius' lab and befriends Francis at the beginning of his murder investigation.
- Klaus Maria Brandauer as Claudandus formerly known as Pascal, an elderly Havana Brown owned by Ziebold, a former associate of Preterius.
- Helge Schneider as Jesaja, a Persian cat and self-proclaimed "Guardian of the Dead" who lives in the catacombs underneath the district and receives the bodies of murdered cats.
- Wolfgang Hess as Kong, a Himalayan cat who antagonizes Francis until his pregnant mate Solitaire is murdered.
- Gerhard Garbers as Professor Julius Preterius, a previous resident of Francis's current home who attempted to create an infallible tissue adhesive by experimenting on local stray cats until he was murdered by a test subject named Claudandus.
- Ulrich Wildgruber as Joker, the high priest of the Claudandus sect.
- Mona Seefried as Felicitas/Felicity, a Russian Blue who lost her eyesight as a kitten in Preterius' lab and lives in Francis's district.
- Manfred Steffen as Gustav Löbel, Francis's owner.
- Uwe Ochsenknecht as Archie, Gustav's acquaintance and renovating partner.
- Michaela Amler as Nhozemphtekh, a cat belonging to an "old and new" breed who seduces Francis.
- Christian Schneller as Gregor Mendel, who appears as a figure in Francis's dreams.
- Tobias Lelle and Frank Röth as the Hermanns, a pair of Oriental Shorthairs who act as Kong's sidekicks.
- Alexandra Mink as Pepeline, Joker's great-granddaughter.
Felidae was the most expensive animated film produced in Germany to date, costing 10 million Deutschmarks. The characters were designed by Paul Bolger, who also served as a head animator for the film from Dagda Film Limited in Dublin. Armen Melkonian was the film's layout designer and a head animator from the studio Azadart in Toronto. The film was mainly animated by TFC Trickompany in Hamburg, from which Hayo Freitag notably animated the Mendel sequence. Some of the animation was farmed out to other studios, including Animationstudio Ludewig in Hamburg, Uli Meyer Animation in London, Natterjack Animation in Vancouver (from which Steven Evangelatos was the head animator), Mediasoft in Hamburg, Premier Films in London (from which John Cousen was the head animator), A-Film APS in Kopenhagen (from which Michael Hegner was the head animator) and Hahn Shin Corporation in Seoul (from which Shin-Mok Choi was the head animator).
An uncredited English version of the film was produced and was intended to be released in English-speaking regions (e.g. United Kingdom, United States, etc.) from 1995 to 1997, but the only region it saw an official release in was Australia under distribution by RocVale Film Pty. Ltd. It is however available on YouTube and was released on VHS in Thailand. It was also included on the German & French DVD releases.
It was released on PAL DVD region 2 with Dolby 5.1 and 2.0 surround sound for the original German audio and Dolby 2.0 for the English audio dub in Dolby 2.0. Extras (in German only) include DVD commentary, trailer in German, and a "making of" documentary.
|Soundtrack album by Anne Dudley|
- "Felidae" — 04:44 (Boy George/John Themis)
- "Main Theme From Felidae" — 02:06
- "Bluebeard - And Archie" — 01:26
- "Kong And His Cronies" — 02:11
- "Celebrating The Black Mass" — 05:55
- "Felicity" — 01:50
- "Pascal - The Enigma" — 01:37
- "Mendel's Waltz" — 02:39
- "Blood Sport" — 02:17
- "A Gruesome Encounter" — 04:03
- "Catacombs Of Doom" — 01:01
- "The Egyptian Dream" — 01:18
- "Seduction NHOZEMPHTEKH" 01:29
- "In The Snow" — 01:14
- "The Riddle Falls Into Place" — 05:04
- "I Am Claudandus" — 05:01