Share story

Several short films have been made of Franz Kafka’s 100-year-old short story, “The Metamorphosis,” including Peter Capaldi’s Oscar-winning “Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life” (1993). The first English-language feature-length version appeared in 2012, and now there’s a dubious 72-minute German variation, called “The Strange Little Cat.”

It’s an extremely loose adaptation of Kafka’s story, which was about a man who finds himself turning into a bug. There’s no transformation here and nothing especially creepy about the movie. It’s a bit baffling the filmmakers are even claiming that it was inspired by Kafka. The film is more like a slow-motion Chantal Akerman dream than a Kafka nightmare.

The script focuses on a large family maneuvering through a Berlin flat as dinner is prepared. The tiny rooms force everyone to seem extra-polite, especially when they’re dressing or working in the crowded kitchen.

Nothing much happens. A cat makes a move and purrs. Someone is reprimanded for not tucking in his shirt. Some movements are choreographed — just enough to make the movie look like a pointless reboot of Akerman’s “Window Shopping.”

This week, save 90% on digital access.

John Hartl:

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.