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Originally published Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 3:05 PM

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‘The Strange Little Cat’ creeps along as family prepares dinner

A movie review of “The Strange Little Cat,” which is loosely based on Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis.” Nothing much happens as this German film follows a large family maneuvering through a Berlin flat as dinner is prepared. It received 1.5 stars out of 4.


Special to The Seattle Times

Movie Review ★½  

‘The Strange Little Cat,’ with Leon Alan Beiersdorf, Matthias Dittmer. Written and directed by Ramon Zürcher. 72 minutes. Not rated; suitable for general audiences (although it may put children to sleep). Northwest Film Forum, through Thursday.

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Several short films have been made of Franz Kafka’s 100-year-old short story, “The Metamorphosis,” including Peter Capaldi’s Oscar-winning “Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life” (1993). The first English-language feature-length version appeared in 2012, and now there’s a dubious 72-minute German variation, called “The Strange Little Cat.”

It’s an extremely loose adaptation of Kafka’s story, which was about a man who finds himself turning into a bug. There’s no transformation here and nothing especially creepy about the movie. It’s a bit baffling the filmmakers are even claiming that it was inspired by Kafka. The film is more like a slow-motion Chantal Akerman dream than a Kafka nightmare.

The script focuses on a large family maneuvering through a Berlin flat as dinner is prepared. The tiny rooms force everyone to seem extra-polite, especially when they’re dressing or working in the crowded kitchen.

Nothing much happens. A cat makes a move and purrs. Someone is reprimanded for not tucking in his shirt. Some movements are choreographed — just enough to make the movie look like a pointless reboot of Akerman’s “Window Shopping.”

John Hartl: johnhartl@yahoo.com



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