Program 15 – Tomcat
Austria / 2016 / 114 min. | Directed by: Händl Klaus
In German with English subtitles
WARNING: This film has graphic sexual content.
Winner of the Teddy Award for best LGBT-related feature film at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, Tomcat offers a unique birds-eye view into a relationship on the brink of collapse. Andreas and Stefan (Philipp Hochmair and Lukas Turtur), a well-off couple who work and perform for the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, spend their off-time idling naked around their sun-soaked house, listening to Ravel and loving on their adorable cat, Moses. But their relationship is put to the test when a sudden burst of unprovoked violence leads Stefan to question just what type of person he’s chosen to build a life with. As resentment, fear, and distrust rear their heads, both Stefan and Andreas have to come to terms with the unknowable fathoms of themselves and each other, leading to a deep rift in their once-harmonious love nest. The distance between the two widens further when both men gravitate toward the shy and sympathetic clarinetist, Lorenz (Thomas Stipsits), to help sooth their pain.
Lead actors Hochmair and Tutur fully immerse themselves in this contemplative character study that zeros in on the limits to how much we can ever really know the ones we love. Filled with painful truths, the film’s German title, Kater, perfectly encapsulates the film’s sneaky nature as it plays on the word’s dual meaning for male cat and hangover, and defines the film’s focus on a single, inexplicably primal impulse that leads to a long and uncertain road of recovery.
— Josh Prete
Teddy Award: BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE Berlin International Film Festival Jury Prize: YOUNG CINEMA Hong Kong International Film Festival Official Selection: Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival