Review: Tomcat / Mardi Gras Film Festival / Kena

Tomcat isn’t about a gay couple…it’s just about a couple, the fact that they are gay is hardly mentioned in the film at all, if ever. It’s reassuring to see that once I reach adulthood something like one’s sexuality won’t have such an impact on my everyday life.

The film was interesting to say the least… Centring around a gay couple in Germany trying to overcome their trials and tribulations, it’s one of the only films I’ve seen that is entirely in German, which was an awesome experience (I love foreign language films!). The setting is so aesthetically pleasing in every way; the pristine, minimalist, musical, high class home the couple live in, their relationships with fellow orchestra members and close friends, how they dress, eat, and of course their sumptuous feline, B-Roll. The grading was stellar and the acting even more so, with a captive plot and precise dialogue.

The interactions between the two main characters Andreas and Stefan and the other characters in the film was quite special. Their cat-happy neighbours were always more interested in their cats Moses and Kathi, and didn’t react in any way unusual when tensions arose and Andreas left their joint dinner angrily. Stefan’s soccer team didn’t treat him as any less of a man during or after Stefan’s tearful (and loud) breakdown on the pitch, and were all unswervingly supportive. The couple’s orchestra mates were equally nonchalant about their sexualities – indeed only quipped about it when they were discussing everybody’s love lives. The whole situation seemed entirely normal, which is often not what we get to see on feature films involving lead characters with non-heterosexual sexualities. In fact, when I saw the trailer for Tomcat, as soon as the complication is introduced but we’re not told what it is – I made the assumption that some conflict had arisen due to one or the other’s sexual orientation. The classic antagonist – a bigot, a homophobe or cheating. It was quite refreshing to have your everyday film scenario, which was also a very original idea, shown through a queer lens. An exploration of two men [not just ‘people’] in love, and how they struggle to make it work.

Before the film commenced the audience were warned  of the violence in the film, but failed to mention the nudity. I was surprised that Tomcat was 15+, and so I dread to think what we may have seen on the screen one of the 18+ films, let’s just put it that way. I’m fairly inexperienced in that regard, so it probably wasn’t such a big deal for the rest of the audience, but it was an education for sure. It was only after the film had ended and one of the lead actors was called up for a brief Q+A, that I realised one of the men who we’d seen completely naked several times on screen was sitting right behind us, and probably noticed every duck of the head and exasperated snigger… C’est la vie. Apart from the occasional aversion of eyes, the film was beautiful, and in all honesty I understand why the directors included that much full monty – it really brought the audience into the world of the two main characters, and enveloped us in the intensity and intimacy of the situation.

I absolutely (although viewer discretion advised, if you are not used to nudity on screen) recommend this wonderfully crafted film of an intimate human relationship, their struggles, and their tomcat.

Tomcat screened at the 2017 Mardi Gras Film Festival.

Tomcat review by Kena.


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