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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Schaack|
|Produced by||Hanno Huth|
|Screenplay by||Akif Pirinçci
|Story by||Akif Pirinçci|
Klaus Maria Brandauer
|Music by||Anne Dudley|
|Edited by||Klaus Basler|
|Distributed by||Senator Film Distribution|
Felidae is a 1994 German adult animated neo-noir horror-thriller film directed by Michael Schaack, written by Martin Kluger, Stefaan Schieder and Akif Pirinçci based on the 1989 novel Felidae, produced by Trickompany, and starring Ulrich Tukur, Mario Adorf and Klaus Maria Brandauer. The story centers on domestic house cat Francis and the grisly feline murders taking place in his new neighborhood.
A green-eyed black and white tomcat named Francis moves in with his owner to an abandoned house in a new neighborhood, and no sooner has he set paw into his new home than he is greeted by Sascha's slain body. Local street cat Bluebeard is convinced that this, and the other three recent killings, must have been committed by a "can-opener" (cat slang for a human).
Francis disagrees, and as he finds out more about the victims, he is sure that not only is the murderer a cat, but that the killings are all connected by one common factor - each of the victims was sexually aroused at the time of death. He is aided in his investigations by fierce, gluttonous Bluebeard, blind but wise Felicity, and the elderly, technology-savvy cat Pascal (who had been recently diagnosed with stomach cancer). His sleep is haunted by terrifying and vivid nightmares, which offer insight into the mind of the murderer.
Francis starts to run afoul of the local bully Kong and his posse, consisting of two neuetered cats whose names are both Hermann. Even more disturbingly, Francis learns of the suicidal Claudandus Sect, led by a cat named Joker, and he discovers that his new home was once the site of a laboratory owned by Dr. Preterius. Preterius, in his search to create a bonding glue that would heal any flesh wound, performed painful and deadly experiments on countless cats, including the legendary Claudandus (the namesake cat of the Claudandus Sect). This particular cat was originally a stray (later Preterius's mascot), the first upon which the bonding glue worked, something Preterius attributed to superior genetics. He continued said routine vivisection on Claudandus, and as his experiments continued failing, the doctor descended into a state of alcoholic craziness. One day, Claudandus attacked Preterius by challenging him to combat. Preterius's fate was then left unknown.
After Preterius's death, the abandoned lab became a meeting site for the Claudandus Sect, who believe that Claudandus was imbued with powers that could help the cat species evolve into something greater. Some members believe that Claudandus has ascended to another life, and that by sacrificing themselves through ritual suicide, they may attain perfection. It is also implied that some of the cats (such as Kong or Bluebeard) were victims of Preterius's experiments.
After a comical climb up a tree to a house where Bluebeard searched for Joker, Joker is discovered dead, and it is eventually revealed that Claudandus lives on. Old and embittered, Claudandus now seeks revenge against humanity, citing them as the only truly evil animal. Through selective breeding, he aims to give rise to a 'new breed' of feline - one perfect enough to overtake the humans. Using his owner's computer to keep a listing of every cat in the city, Pascal theorizes with Francis that Claudandus is systematically killing the cats he deems unworthy of breeding. At the same time, Pascal names his computer database simply after the biological family of the cats, "Felidae."
Francis meets up with a female Egyptian themed cat (whose name was never mentioned on screen), and has sexual intercourse with her most of the day. One evening, after learning Mendel's genetics theory, Francis and Bluebeard sneak into Pascal's home. Bluebeard is attacked by an unseen force. While deleting the Felidae project, Francis encounters Pascal who is revealed to be Claudandus.
When Francis confronts him, Claudandus reveals that he spoke to Preterius and then killing him. Due to his fatal disease, and having been impressed by Francis' intelligence, he hopes that the younger cat will continue the Felidae project after he dies. Appalled and disgusted, Francis deletes Felidae and destroys the computer, sparking an electrical fire. The two cats fight, and Francis disembowels Claudandus, revealing he is indeed a mutant (as previously assumed by Preterius). The mutilated Claudandus remarks as he dies that he, too, was once as pure as Francis.
Francis escapes the burning building with the badly-injured Bluebeard, and all remaining traces of Claudandus and the Felidae project are destroyed. Looking over the remains of Claudandus's home, he muses that there must be optimism for a brighter future for humans and Felidae alike.
|Francis||Ulrich Tukur||Cary Elwes|
|Bluebeard||Mario Adorf||Michael Madsen|
|Pascal||Klaus Maria Brandauer||John Hurt|
|Kong||Wolfgang Hess||Kevin Nealon|
|Jesaja||Helge Schneider||David Jason|
|Preterius||Gerhard Garbers||Malcom McDowell|
|Felicity||Mona Seefried||Kath Soucie|
|Joker||Ulrich Wildgruber||Burt Reynolds|
|Gustav||Manfred Steffen||Bill Fagerbakke|
|Archie||Uwe Ochsenknecht||Steve Buscemi|
|Nhozemphtekh||Michaela Amler||Elizabeth Daily|
|Gregor Mendel||Christian Schneller||Maurice Denham|
|Hermann 1 and 2||Tobias Lelle and Frank Röth||Tom Kenny and Rob Paulsen|
|Pepeline||Alexandra Mink||Andrea Libman|
Felidae was the most expensive animated film produced in Germany to date, reportedly costing 10 million marks. 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), Azadart in Toronto (from which Armen Melkonian was the head animator), Mediasoft in Hamburg, Premier Films in London (from which John Cousen was the head animator), A-Flim APS in Kopenhagen (from which Michael Hegner was the head animator), Dagda Film Limited in Dublin (from which Paul Bolger was the head animator), Hahn Shin Corporation in Seoul (from which Shin-Mok Choi was the head animator) and an uncredited Wang Film Productions in Taiwan.
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, trailers in English and German, and a "making of" documentary. There are currently no plans for a Blu-ray release or a Region 1 DVD release of the movie.
|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
Difference between movie and novel
Longer scenes and monologues are shortened in the film.
- In the book, Francis asks the Guardian of the Dead to the meeting, but in the film, he doesn't.
- In the film, Francis and Bluebeard read the book of the ancient Felidae, but in the book, only Francis reads the book.
- In the novel, Francis discovers the journal of Doctor Preterius. In the film, this becomes a video diary.
- In the novel, when Francis saves Bluebeard from Claudandus, Bluebeard bolsters Francis's confidence when he faces Claudandus. In the film it is just Francis who faces Claudandus.
- The character of Bluebeard is present far more often in the film than he is in the novel. This allows Francis to voice his thoughts aloud as he examines crime scenes and figures out the mystery.
- In the book, Francis sees Felicity's 'can-opener,' but in the film, Felicity's can-opener remains unseen.
- In the film, Bluebeard is with Francis when they meet the 'Guardian of the Dead', but in the novel, Francis is the only one who talks to the Guardian of the Dead.
- Bluebeard is given extra lines and moments in the film, which are often a display of black comedy. It also justifies his increased screen time.
- The novel has an epilogue which ties up all of the loose ends of the plot. The film, meanwhile, doesn't tie up all of the loose ends and simply ends on a note of optimism.
- The one nightmare about Deep Purple slaughtering kittens from the novel is missing in the film.
- In the novel, Francis kills Claudandus by slitting his throat, but in the film, he kills him by disemboweling him.