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Western Animation: Felidae
It's Film Noir....with cats!

Felidae is the 1994 German animated film based upon a book of the same name by Akif PirinÁci, a German-Turkish author. Thanks to the internet, the film has gained something of a cult status.

The story of Felidae centers on a male cat named Francis as he and his owner, Gustav (nicknamed "Gus" by Francis), move into a new home of unknown location. Upon investigating his new home, Francis not only meets the sarcastic Manx stray named Bluebeard, but he also encounters the body of a murdered cat (as Bluebeard points out, it's the fourth murder that occurred in the past few days). It's not long until Francis begins to unravel the mystery surrounding the murdered cats, a strange cult known as the "Claudandus Sect", and the meaning behind the enigma known as "Felidae."

Despite being an animated film, it is definitely not for kids. The film contains graphic violence, disturbing images, adult language, and cat sex. Yes, cat sex.

Tropes:

  • Abandoned Laboratory: Gus and Francis' house was used as a small-scale research lab with cats as the test subjects.
  • All Dogs Are Purebred: A rare case of this trope being used for cats. Most of the characters in the book are explicitly described as being of one particular breed or another (exceptions being Francis and Joker). Strangely, "European Shorthair" seems to be used as a synonym for "Domestic Shorthair/Longhair" (basically cats of mixed ancestry, also called "moggies"), despite the European Shorthair being a recognized breed. Breed appearances can be hinted in the film adaption, but the art style makes some of them rather ambiguous.
    • Bluebeard is a Maine Coon, though his tail has been removed, which makes him look more like a Manx. His film-self also has short fur.
    • Felicity is a Russian Blue, though in the movie she possesses longer fur.
    • Jesaja is a Persian.
    • Kong is an enormous Himalayan, also known as a Colorpoint Persian.
    • The Hermans are Oriental Shorthairs.
    • Pascal is a Havana Brown, though his movie appearance bears next to no resemblance to the breed. He fits the bill slightly better as a young cat, though.
    • As for Francis, a dream sequence in the second book suggests he is a European Shorthair (though this is questionable, as his coloration was very odd in the dream), and being mistaken for a wildcat hints that he's probably a gray or brown tabby, rather than the bicolor shown in the movie.
    • Joker may be any large long-haired breed, as he appears/is described as being huge, long-haired, and white.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: These are some smart cats, able to perfectly understand humans, read, and work a computer. It's mentioned, however, that all of these things take some time and practice to learn, and some cats don't bother learning anything past human speech. This intelligence is kind of required for a murder mystery, anyway.
    • Actually, Francis is able to figure out how to log into the data at the end without having ever seen it being done, as shown by the fact that he did not know a password was necessary, so it is a case of the time required varying according to the situation.
    • The cats are also shown to choose what they wish to learn based on their interests. Francis is quite intrigued in the movie and first book by Pascal's use of a computer, and in the second book by Ambrosius being able to not only read, but write by dipping his claws in ink and carefully scratching the letters onto paper.
  • Animal Talk: The cats can communicate with each other and understand humans. Humans, however, can't understand them, and are completely oblivious to the murder mystery scenario. Claudandus was actually able to talk to Preterius by imitating human language, though.
    • Ambrosious in the second book claims to be able to speak to the animals of the woods, though it's unclear if he's being truthful or merely making it up. A mouse caught shortly thereafter reveals that he can talk in the cats' language.
    • Francis's conversations with the wildcat tribe and the lynx reveal that all felines (at least smaller felines) speak the same language (which makes sense, seeing as how most felines use extremely similar vocalizations and body language).
  • Affably Evil: Pascal, who acts very friendly towards Francis and even seems to help him, despite being the cat version of a militant Eugenicist.
  • Anti-Villain: Claudandus/Pascal.
  • Anyone Can Die: Francis and Bluebeard survive, but other than that, the book/film doesn't discriminate much, whether you're the Big Bad (Claudandus/Pascal), The Dragon (Joker), a Dirty Old Man (Deep Purple), a pregnant female (Solitaire), or arguably the most sympathetic character (Felicity).
  • Arc Words: The title.
  • Asshole Victim: Pretorius.
  • Award Bait Song: Felidae by Boy George
  • Badass: Bluebeard stood up against Kong, a cat many times larger than him, when he threatened Francis.
  • Batman Gambit: Claudandus deliberately stops hiding his victims in order to lead Francis to discovering his scheme and eventually becoming his successor. The first part of the plan succeeds, the second fails. Might also contain elements of Xanatos Speed Chess.
    • Since the whole plan completely relies on the completely contingent element of Francis deciding to take over Claudandus' position (which he refuses), it might even qualify as Out-Gambitted.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: The final confrontation between Francis and Claudandus AKA Pascal has this due to Claudandus knocking over a computer monitor
  • Becoming the Mask: Subverted. Claudandus was the real personality the whole time, he only used his Pascal persona to follow through with his plans, which he drops during his fight with Francis once he's been found out.
  • Big Bad: Claudandus, AKA Pascal.
  • Big Eater: Again, Bluebeard.
    • Even moreso in the film, especially after the catacomb scene. "All I want is a hot meal beside a warm fire. What I want is codfiissssshhh..."
  • Bittersweet Ending: The movie falls under this. The book's ending is slightly darker, but still manages to avoid Downer Ending status.
  • Body Horror: The fate that many cats had to suffer under Dr. Preterius, including Claudandus/Pascal.
  • Body of Bodies: The Nightmare Sequence Gregor Mendel forms from a massive ammount of dead cats.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Francis's story is being narrated to us, the readers/viewers.
  • Cat Fight: Played literally, Gender Flipped, and without the fanservice (possibly). Unless you're into graphic disembowelment.
  • Characters as Device: The kitten Pepeline, whose purpose is to reveal that Claudandus is still alive.
    • However, her character is more fleshed out in the book. She doesn't even share her name in the movie at all!
  • Children Are Innocent: Pepeline, who Cannot Tell a Lie. She provides the clue that Claudandus is in fact alive, and that if Joker is not Claudandus, he at least knows his real/fake identity.
  • Cats Are Mean: Both subverted and played straight. Francis is a nice cat. Kong, on the other hand, is a huge, hulking, dim-witted bully.
    • Even then, Kong shows himself to be at least a little sympathetic upon discovering Solitaire's body (see Jerk with a Heart of Gold below). A more interesting case would be Claudandus/Pascal, who is friendly and amicable right up until he's found out. Then he shows his True Colors...
  • Cats Are Snarkers: Francis and Bluebeard.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Ziebold. Not only he's Dr. Preterius' former assistant but also the person that saved Pascal Claudandus from the lab as well as his current owner. He is also obsessed with Gregor Mendel, which is where Claudandus got his idea in the first place — and the final clue for Francis to tie in that Claudandus IS Pascal, and yet he's The Faceless.
  • The Chessmaster: Claudandus/Pascal.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Jesaja, the guardian of the dead. his information provides several hints to solving the mystery, including a connection between Joker and Claudandus.
    • You have to feel bad for him. He's spent his whole life believing that he was destined to guard the dead. When Francis come, Jesaja thinks Francis is going to kill him because Jesaja believes that he has sinned for going outside. Also, there's this line when Francis is asking Jesaja questions about the dead bodies he received-
    Francis: Were there any that were pregnant?
  • Cool Old Guy: Pascal is incredibly smart, friendly, and charismatic, and seems genuinely interested in helping find the killer. Which is himself.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Felicity, with her neck bitten and her head torn off. Solitaire, with her neck bitten and her womb opened, spilling out the amniotic fluid, sack and fetuses of the pregnant cat, and Claudandus AKA Pascal, with his body opened, eviscerating him.
  • Cult: The Claudandus Sect.
  • Dark Messiah: Claudandus/Pascal.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Francis.
    • Bluebeard as well.
  • A Degree in Useless: In the book, Gustav is an egyptologist, can't find a job, and no one wants to buy his books, so he has to write pornography for cheap magazines to make a living. In later books, he became more successful.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The first book does this often, probably due to translation.
  • Deranged Animation: Francis's psychedelic dream of Gregor Mendel using thousands of cat corpses as marionettes takes the cake.
    • There's that dream he has in the beginning which honestly shows why the film is not for kids.
  • Description Porn: And how! If you cut out all of it, the book would be half as long.
  • Detective Animal: Francis.
  • Disabled Love Interest: Felicity (If you're shipping her with Francis)
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Francis and Claudandus's final battle is very similar to Simba and Scar's battle from The Lion King, except bloodier. Both films came out in the same year, to boot! Though the similarities are most likely unintentional, as the film of Felidae lifted that scene from the book, which came out years before either film.
    • Claudandus's plans to create a race of "genetically perfect" cats while murdering those he considers to be inferior. Sound familiar?
    • In one dream, after seeing a film about a scientist creating a race of "super-cats" Francis sees God/The ‹bermensch, who calls himself "Felidae," meaning all of catkind, as gold/blonde-haired and lapis/blue eyes. Does This Remind You of Anything??
    • In this movie, Egyptian cats are essentially a stand-in for "Aryans".
    • The concept of "Felidae" seems close to Nietzsche's "Ubermensch" (Super-Man).
    • Fans of the Warrior Cats series notice that how Scourge kills Tigerstar is almost the same way that Francis kills Claudandus, except it's much more bloody and gory.
  • Dubbing: The film was dubbed in English as well, on the spot, which was obviously done to help it reach a wider audience.
  • Electric Torture: Used on the cats by the Claudandus cult. It's seen by certain cats as a way to "see who's chicken".
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Preterius, and his subject, Claudandus.
  • Evolutionary Levels: Claudandus seems to think he's helping to create a "superior" breed of cats.
  • The Faceless: None of the humans in the film are shown above their shoulders. Except:
    • In Francis' first dream, where Dr Preterius is shown, albeit with a black hole and demonic eyes for a face.
    • In the video footage hidden in the basement, which shows Dr Preterius and his two assistants fully. And even then, Preterius is the only one who is seen unmasked.
  • Fallen Hero: Claudandus is a debatable case.
    • Seen as a Hero and a Messiah figure (not a Messianic Archetype though) by the Claudandus Sect. Might be interpreted as fallen from the viewers/readers point of view when we find out his backstory — Although by then, he has gone far from being a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: There's a lot of these in the film, including Felicity being beheaded, a female cat having her own young ripped from her womb, several cats with their throats torn out, and Claudandus getting disemboweled at the end.
    • In the book, Claudandus also gets his throat torn out instead.
    • Felicity's death is a bit more tragic in the book, because we see Felicity's owner crying over her dead body.
    • Preterius's death. While not shown, both the book and movie versions were rather disturbing. The movie simply gave us a torn throat, while in the book, Claudandus leaped into his mouth, tore his way down his throat and ripped his way out through Preterius' intestines!
  • Fantastic Racism: Bluebeard often refers to humans as "Can-Openers", and thinks the only thing mankind is good at is opening cans of food for cats.
    • Also, Claudandus wants to create a master race of cats to overthrow the humans.
    • Felicity mentions that cats can adapt to anything save a dog kennel.
    • Bluebeard complains at one point about a new breed of cats moving in and taking over the neighbourhood.
      • As it turns out, the new breed is specifically being bred to lose its domestic nature and overthrow humans one day. After the mastermind's death, though, the newcomers begin to integrate with the other cats more, losing their ferocity while it's still in its early stages.
  • Fat and Skinny: Francis' owner Gustav, and his (only) friend Archie.
  • Final Speech:
    Claudandus: So much darkness in the world, so much darkness, Francis. No light. Only darkness. And there is always someone who will take it upon himself. Always. Always. Always. I have become evil, but once I, too, was good...
  • Freudian Excuse: The reason Claudandus, AKA Pascal commits murders is because of experimentation by Dr. Preterius.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Based on the opening narration, the readers/viewers already know that Francis will make it out alive in the end.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Claudandus, AKA Pascal
  • Gonk: Kong is approximately three times larger than any other cat in the film, has a lower jaw that juts out extremely far, and looks more like a cross between a bear and a buffalo than a cat. His henchmen, Herman and Herman, also qualify to some degree.
    • One of the Hermans has crossed eyes. The book explains that both Hermans are Oriental Shorthairs, and crossed eyes used to be fairly common among many Oriental breeds, justifying Herman's appearance.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Felicity seems to believe that evil doesn't exist.
  • Gorn: Some scenes tend to venture into this.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Deep Purple. He ends up being the fifth victim, and an essential clue to the link of the murders.
  • Gutted Like a Fish: This is how Francis finished off Claudandus in the movie. In the book, Francis bit Claudandus' jugular vein.
  • Heaven: Francis gets a look at the feline heaven after being shot at the end of the second book. He's saved from the brink of death before the stay becomes permanent.
  • Hollywood Acid: The Info Dump experiment log states that the acid in the skin-glue Doctor Preterius was working on was strong enough to dissolve bone, and completely destroyed the brain of the first test subject.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Subverted. Claudandus is a misotheist.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Both subverted and played straight. It's one of the main themes of the film.
    • Francis' owner doesn't do anything to help solve the mystery, nor do any other humans. Considering that it's cats killing other cats, this really doesn't seem all that surprising.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Claudandus/Pascal tells Francis that he had no choice but to kill in order for his breeding program to succeed.
  • I Have Many Names: In one of Francis's dreams, he sees a golden cat with blue eyes. "I'm the Prophet, I'm the Human, I'm the Beast, and I am also... Felidae."
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. Dams and their kittens die all over the place.
    • In the original novel, Francis has a nightmare where Deep Purple pulls a kitten out of his torn, bleeding throat, throws it against the wall, pulls out another kitten which bursts like a red paint balloon, and proceeds to splatter more kittens from his throat. Try going to sleep after reading that fun scene.
  • Is That What They're Calling It Now?: When Francis uses the term "fornication" to note the similarities between Sascha and Deep Purple's deaths, Bluebeard replies, "Back in my day, we use to call it screwing."
  • Insufferable Genius: Francis. Justified since he is a cat, and he does have redeeming qualities.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bluebeard.
  • Just Between You and Me: Claudandus to Francis when he finally discovers who the killer is.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Joker
  • Kill the Cutie: Felicity.
  • Knights Templar: Claudandus presents himself like this, especially in the book.
  • Large Ham: Joker, though mostly in the German version.
  • Last of His Kind: Eight the lynx. He was part of a group brought from Canada to Germany to help boost the native population, but with their normal food source no longer available to them, the group quickly dwindled from starvation and being shot after they attacked livestock in desperation. It's possible that a few of them survived, but Eight has no clue where they are and has resigned himself to being alone for the rest of his life.
  • Let Me Tell You a Story: "[A]nd it's not going to be pretty."
  • Mad Scientist: Preterius. Though, he's more of a rambling drunken scientist.
    • Claudandus might also qualify.
  • Made of Plasticine: The cats get ripped apart rather easily, it seems. This is most obvious in the climax when the Big Bad gets his entire guts and ribs ripped open from a single claw across the stomach.
    • Possibly Truth in Television as cats have incredibly thin skin and needle-sharp claws.
    • It actually happened that way because Francis reopened the scar from when Preterius vivisected Claudandus. Several times. His stomach was practically paper-thin by then.
  • Madness Mantra: "HYBRID PLANT EXPERIMENTS!" Dream Gregor raves out this while controlling undead marionette cats. *Shudders*
    • In the novel, there's the Deep Purple nightmare sequence. "Get them to prescribe some pills for immortality and creams for potency! For potency! For potency! For potency!" Now imagine kittens being pulled out of his torn throat and slammed against the wall.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Ziebold, Pascal's owner and former assistant to Preterius is described as such.
  • Master Race: Claudandus/Pascal believes that the only superior life forms are "the wonderful, mighty Felidae", and that others are "stupid and victims of their fate.".
  • Mature Animal Story
  • Meaningful Name: Felicity means "great happiness".
    • Kong is, well, gigantic.
    • Claudandus is the Latin for "he who must be closed". Closing him - literally - was what Preterius was trying to do.
  • Moral Dissonance: Felicity says that "humans are the kindest creature there is" in the same space as "Claudandus was viciously tortured by humans." The break between these two realities is at the center of the book's plot.
    • It also points out the irony of Felicity's views on humans considering it's heavily implied that she is blind due to humans experimenting on her in the past.
  • Motive Rant: Quite a lengthy one, in which Claudandus details how Humans Are Bastards, and why he created Felidae in order to overthrown humans. This is more prevalent in the book.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Claudandus, since he tries to create a master race of cats and is willing to kill for it.
  • Necessarily Evil: "I was forced to kill, Francis- I had no choice- to preserve the racial purity that this new Felidae required."
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Claudandus. Just read his rant about how Humans Are Bastards.
  • Nightmare Dreams: Francis has several of them, ranging from heavily symbolic to heavily disturbing.
  • Not So Different: Claudandus in regards to the humans he hated.
  • Off with His Head!: Felicity.
  • Panthera Awesome: Eight from book two is a Canadian lynx. Not really so big as most examples of this trope, but still much larger than most of the characters.
  • Passing the Torch: Claudandus's original intention towards Francis.
  • The Password Is Always Swordfish: Francis guesses the password on Pascal's computer fairly easily - it's Preterius, the name of the scientist whose experiments set Claudandus/Pascal down the path of evil.
  • Pet The Cat: Interestingly (see Humans Are Bastards above), every human character is shown to have (or have had) good qualities. Even Preterius was somewhat kind to his test subjects (at least in the book - it's not really shown in the movie) before his project started falling apart around him. About the only exception would be Saffron's owner, from book two, who took delight in starving and torturing his cats - Saffron's brother died of dehydration thanks to him.
    • Francesca also fails to get any such moments, but she's not evil per se - just really domineering, pushy, and a hypocrite.
  • Philosophical Serial Killer: It's a rather nihilistic philosophy, though.
  • Pop-Star Composer: The score was done by Art of Noise member (and Academy Award winning composer) Anne Dudley.
  • Posthumous Character : Dr. Preterius, especially in the book.
  • Pun: Catacombs.
    • Lampshaded by Bluebeard in the English dub of the film. "If that's a joke..."
  • Purple Prose: And how, being that Francis feels the need to describe everything, and we mean everything in graphic detail. In the first book he went on for about five paragraphs about what his owner feeds him.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: It's a Film Noir WITH CATS!
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni - Francis (blue) and Bluebeard (red). They argue several times in the movie but are otherwise good friends with one another.
  • Religion of Evil: The cult of Claudandus.
  • Sanity Slippage: Dr. Preterius. The descent from a sympathetic scientist who just wanted to achieve something, to a belligerent, insane man is more prevalent in the novel.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Alcina from book two. She meets Francis only once, during which they mate, but Francis apparently loved her very much and is heartbroken when he finds she's been murdered. Felicity might count as well, as her part is extremely similar (sans the mating), but between the two Felicity was much friendlier.
    • Nhozemptekh could be thought of as this, except that Francis never really says or does anything to indicate genuine love. He just finds her really sexy.
    • It should be noted that cats, by nature, typically aren't very romantic (mating in both book and film is a pretty casual affair), but a few characters do show signs of real love for a favorite mate.
  • Secret Keeper : Joker. Who is well aware about the truth behind Preterius and his experiments, that Claudandus is alive, responsible for the murders, the reasons behind 'em and his other identity. He even accepts dying at the hands of Claudandus to keep the secret safe when Francis starts closing in on him.
    • In book two, this role is filled by Ambrosius, who is fully aware that the Wild Ones are the murderers. He even aids them by pretending to be the Black Knight and drawing suspicion away from them.
  • Sexo Phone: Used during Nhozemptekh's introduction (otherwise known as the "cat sex scene").
  • She Knows Too Much: The reason why Felicity was killed.
  • Shout-Out: When Francis decides to relieve his stress by hunting some rats, he casually mentions their plot to take over the world.
    • Gregor Mendel and his theories of genetics are a big part of the plot, to the point he's almost a Posthumous Character. (And he's absolutely terrifying in Francis' dreams.)
  • Shown Their Work: The author knows quite a bit about cats. This is shown not only in the books themselves, but in notes supplied at the back of the books to explain in detail some aspects of feline behavior and biology that are only given passing mention in the main story. He also has a good understanding of Mendelian genetics, one of the major elements of the plot.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: In the first book, Francis delivers one to Claudandus/Pascal, during the latter's Motive Rant.
    Francis: You're the one who's really a human being! You think just like they do! You act just like they do! You only want to repeat all the misery they have brought to the world. You're dreaming not of real change but of establishing a new dictatorship paid for with hundreds and thousands of dead from your own ranks. and tell me what kind of a role you've thought up for the other animals species in your oh-so-very-wonderful never-never land? Come on, answer me!
  • Sinister Minister: Joker, who is one of the leaders of the "Claudandus Sect". He's well-aware of what's really going on and he allows Claudandus to kill him to prevent the secret from being revealed.
  • Slasher Smile: One of the Hermanns' always carries this.
  • Straw Loser: Gustav to Francis. Deep down, however, Francis really does care for his clumsy owner
  • Super Breeding Program: Claudandus/Pascal plans to breed cats back to their original, ferocious form. He eliminates those that get in the ways of his plans.
  • Toilet Humor: "Bluebeard was here." Said after urinating near a house. This is only done two times.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Felicity
  • The Bully: Kong and the Hermanns until the death of Kong's dam, Solitaire.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • The Watson: Bluebeard becomes this in the movie, so that Francis can explain his discoveries to him instead of having to narrate his thoughts all the time.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Kong's cohorts, Hermann and Hermann.
  • Tragic Villain: Depending on your perspective, Claudandus/Pascal.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Kong. He almost kills Francis at one point (but see Jerk with a Heart of Gold).
  • Villainous Breakdown: "'No! No! No!' Pascal bellowed, his eyes burning with impotent rage and hate. 'There are no good people! They're all the same! Don't you understand that?! Animals are good human beings, and human beings are bad animals!'"
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Francis and Bluebeard. See Red Oni, Blue Oni.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Felicity, who was killed off after only a few minutes of screentime.
    • Alcina, in yet another parallel to Felicity, also only shows up alive once.
    • Also showing up alive only once is Father Joker, though he allowed himself to be executed.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In the movie, we never get to see what happens to any of the side characters (it's possible that Francis's "new friend" is Nhozemptekh, but the character design is slightly different so this is unlikely). The novel subverts this by giving information in the epilogue.
    • It's at least implied in the movie that Bluebeard survived, though not confirmed.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Arguably Claudandus. He only developed his insane plan after being tortured by Preterius. The "Destroyer of Worlds" part is much more present here than the "Woobie" part though. Also, this trope is more present in the book than in the movie.
    • The second book gives us the wildcat tribe. Being brought into strange territory where they found it almost impossible to survive is what fueled the rage towards humans and domestic creatures alike, and eventually what led to the murders. As with Claudandus above, this is an arguable case.
  • You Are Number Six: Eight the lynx, from the second book.


"Bluebeard was here."
Dead Space: AftermathHorror Animated FilmsFrankenweenie
FernGully: The Last RainforestThe Renaissance Age of AnimationThe Flight of Dragons
FameGerman LiteratureThe Frog Prince
The Fearless FourGerman MediaLaura's Star
Fear StreetLiterature of the 1980sFevre Dream
FatherlandFilms of the 1990sFist of Legend

alternative title(s): Felidae; Felidae
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