A yellow-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. His sleep is haunted by terrifying and vivid nightmares, which offer insight into the mind of the murderer.
Francis soon runs afoul of the local bully Kong and the suicidal Claudandus Sect, 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 the first upon which the bonding glue worked, something Preterius attributed to superior genetics. He continued routine vivisection on Claudandus, and as his experiments continued failing, the doctor descended into a state of alcoholic craziness. One day, the long-suffering Claudandus attacked Preterius, tearing open his throat.
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 eventually revealed that Claudandus lives on, having taken on the identity of Pascal, Francis' mentor. Old and embittered, Claudandus, now Pascal, 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 is systematically killing the cats he deems unworthy of breeding. He names both his database and his plan simply after the biological family of the cats, "Felidae."
When Francis confronts him, Pascal reveals that he is terminally ill with a form of stomach cancer. Having been impressed by Francis' intelligence, he hopes that the younger cat will continue the Felidae project after he dies. Appalled, Francis deletes Felidae and destroys the computer, sparking an electrical fire. The two cats fight, and Francis disembowels Pascal, who remarks as he dies that he, too, was once as pure as Francis.
Francis escapes the burning building, and all remaining traces of Pascal and the Felidae project are destroyed. Looking over the remains of Pascal's home, he muses that there must be optimism for a brighter future for both humans and felidae alike.
- Ulrich Tukur as Francis
- Mario Adorf as Bluebeard
- Klaus Maria Brandauer as Pascal / Claudandus
- Wolfgang Hess as Kong
- Helge Schneider as Jesaja
- Gerhard Garbers as Preterius
- Mona Seefried as Felicity
- Ulrich Wildgruber as Joker
- Manfred Steffen as Gustav
- Uwe Ochsenknecht as Archie
- Michaela Amler as Nhozemphtekh
- Christian Schneller as Mendel
- Tobias Lelle as Hermann 1
- Frank Röth as Hermann 2
- Alexandra Mink as Pepeline
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 for this movie.
- "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
- "Felicitas" — 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 novelEdit
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 Pretorius. In the film, this becomes a video diary.
- In the film, when Francis saves Bluebeard from Pascal, Bluebeard bolsters Francis's confidence when he faces Pascal. In the novel it is just Francis who faces Pascal.
- 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, you don't see Felicity's can-opener.
- 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 end 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 Pascal/Claudandus by slitting his throat, but in the film, he kills him by disemboweling him.
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