Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB
Original Title: Kater
Austria, 2016. Coop99 Filmproduktion. Screenplay by Klaus Händl. Cinematography by Gerald Kerkletz. Produced by Antonin Svoboda, Bruno Wagner. Music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Felix Mendelssohn, Maurice Ravel. Production Design by Enid Löser. Costume Design by Tanja Hausner. Film Editing by Joana Scrinzi. Podcast: Bad Gay Movies.
Stefan and Andreas live together in partnered bliss, unable to keep their hands off each other when home (and sometimes even while entertaining guests!) Professionally, they enjoy the pleasant labour of the orchestra that employs them and the parties that they partake in with their co-workers. Their life looks like a furniture commercial with indulgent nudity, but all this Edenic happiness is ended when Stefan commits an act of violence without reason or explanation that even he cannot understand after it has happened. Andreas tries to keep their relationship going but finds that he can’t, maintaining appearances in public but unable to be intimate with his partner behind closed doors. Logic would tell you that an investigation into what Stefan did and why he did it would follow, but director Klaus Handl isn’t here to tell a story or create characters, he’s actually just an obnoxious provocateur who sets you up with his erotic, ripe imagery in the beginning and then performs a series of upsetting attacks with no purpose other than to upset the viewer. Were he up to the level of mastery of Michael Haneke, whose style he is cheaply imitating, one could say that the cruelties are unexplained as a way to create tension, but Haneke’s gift is in creating an atmosphere of dread, Handl is merely throwing a few ridiculous stunts into an otherwise mundane love story. With so little gray area involved in Stefan’s crime, the fact that his boyfriend even tries to work it out with him doesn’t make much sense, meaning that once we’re done seeing all that lovely sex, the rest of the movie is a genuine slog to get through.