The Cat Piano (2009)

The Cat Piano poster

The People’s Republic of Animation
Narrated by:
 Nick Cave
Directed by: Ari Gibson and Eddie White

Cat Out of the Bag Alert! This review contains spoilers for this short film!

Synopsis: A very dark but beautifully animated poem about a city of cats which falls into disarray when all of the singers are mysteriously catnapped by an evil human entity.

Cartoon Cats: The anthropomorphic cats in this tale are painstakingly drawn with lovely lines that are as lilting as the poetic words telling the tale.  Yet the cats are catlike enough to retain their true cat nature.  The hero of the tale is a beat poet who falls in love with a beautiful siren singer and is thrown into dismay when she also disappears.

The Cat Piano animated short beat poet and singer

Kitty Carnage Warning! This is a very dark film, so cat lovers be warned!  The kidnapper is a man whom the beat poet deduces has kidnapped the singing cats for his Katzenklavier, or Cat Piano, a device in which the cats are placed so that when the player strikes a note a nail pierces the cat’s tail, causing them to yowl their particular note.  The violence is mostly suggested rather than graphically shown (with the exception of the animating of the original drawings for the device) but it is such a disturbing concept it is still disconcerting to the extreme.

The Cat Piano animated short cat screaming

What’s even scarier is this is not a fictional concept but an actual invention designed by German physician Johann Christian Reil for the supposed use of curing psychiatric patients (just Google it for yourself!)  Thankfully there is no evidence that the contraption was actually ever built, thank goodness.

The Cat Piano animated short beat poet reads about the Katzenklavier

Final Mewsings: The Katzenklavier is the stuff of cat’s nightmares.


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