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Playful Strange Little Cat depicts family life with affection


- German director Ramon Zürcher’s first feature film is a quirky but carefully directed drama-comedy featuring an extended family in a Berlin apartment. Cineuropa Prize at the Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival.


German director Ramon Zürcher debuted with his first feature film The Strange Little Cat [+see also:
film focus
interview: Ramon Zürcher
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in the Forum section of the Berlinale. Although at the first glance it seems like a TV drama as it is completely set in a Berlin apartment and features one family, with brisk running time of 72 minutes, the carefully choreographed movements of its protagonists and quirky humour provide it with a chance for arthouse distribution.

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Teenage siblings Simon (Luk Pfaf) and Karin (Anjorka Strechel) are visiting their parents (Jenny Schily, Matthias Dittmer) and little sister Clara (Mia Kasalo), soon to be followed by other members of the extended family who are coming to dinner, as well as some neighbours and friends who come for various reasons- to repair the washing machine or bring groceries. They discuss and do small, everyday things, which are turned into events by focusing on the stories they tell for no apparent reason- such as the ones about orange peel always landing on its orange side, or a stranger unconsciously keeping his foot on mother’s foot during a cinema screening. 

The titular orange-striped cat is there too, but much stranger is their black dog who enjoys listening to the cat purr. Actually, this seems to be a treat for the whole family, they are all very fond of the cat’s purring. Sound plays an important role in the film- Clara accompanies every whirring and clanking of kitchen appliances with screaming along to them.

Their moves around the kitchen and the rest of the apartment are carefully choreographed and it must have taken either a lot of rehearsing (or a lot of luck with improvisation) to achieve the precise dynamics of one day in the family’s life. Some events and dialogues are recurring rhythmically, such as playing with a remote-controlled helicopter, sewing a button back onto a shirt, or discussing the way lungs function.

Although the film has no strong dramatic point, this clearly was not Zürcher’s goal anyway. Strange Little Cat is a sweet little film playfully depicting the everyday of a family’s life, and the director does it assuredly and affectionately.

Strange Little Cat was produced by The Deutsche Film-und Fernsehakademie Berlin.


international title: The Strange Little Cat
original title: Das merkwürdige Kätzchen
country: Germany
year: 2013
directed by: Ramon Zürcher
screenplay: Ramon Zürcher
cast: Anjorka Strechel, Jenny Schily, Luk Pfaff, Lea Draeger, Armin Marewski, Mia Kasalo

main awards/selection

Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival 2013 Premio Cineuropa
Berlinale 2013 Forum
Off Plus Camera 2013 
CPH PIX 2013 
Jeonju International Film Festival 2013 
San Francisco International Film Festival 2013 
Cannes 2013 
New Zealand International Film Festival 2013 
Santiago Festival International de Cine 2013 
Festival Internacional de Cine de Monterrey 2013 
Fresh Film Fest (Czech Republic) 2013 
Cinematik International Film Festival Piestany (Slovakia) 2013 
Toronto International Film Festival 2013 
Helsinki International Film Festival 2013 
Cambridge International Film Festival 2013 
Athens Film Festival 2013 
Vancouver International Film Festival 2013 
Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival 2013 
Kaunas International Film Festival 2013 
Mons International Love Film Festival 2014 

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