Trains and Cats (Film Thoughts: Label Me/Kater)

b124676bbe1db5ef6cfae13c24620557Do we need to see another film about a gay prostitute?  Well, we get another one, and this one is from Austria, via Kai Kreuser, who wrote and directed ‘Label Me.’ Waseem is from Syria, and Lars is a local. The film starts at a train station wherein they have some kind of agreement and before you can say sex, the two of them are at it at Lars’ apartment. But no, Waseem doesn’t kiss, and he only tops. Their relationship becomes a lot more than customer/supplier, and sure we have seen this story a million times before. However, I like the subtlety that Kreuser infuses in the film –  societal and religious restrictions prevent Waseem from truly admitting what he thinks his orientation is. There is a great scene wherein he discovers Lars’ sketchbook and finds drawings of him – and this triggers something in him. There’s a lot of good style here that makes this familiar story feel new.

bc46d6d096e60a9e53245fd1ef354172From neighboring Germany comes Handl Klaus’s ‘Kater.’ We see an ideal couple, Stefan and Andreas who live an ideal life with their cat. But something snaps in Stefan, and he (accidentally, maybe or not) kills their cast Moses. This incident brings out the fragility of their relationship. Can you ever trust someone again when he has killed your cat? I am not a cat person, but I wonder if I would feel differently if their pet was a dog. I know a lot of people have loved this film, but I had reservations. I think what happens next is much too abstract, and I wanted a little more explanation for my ‘closure.’ But this has great performances from the leads, and it certainly isn’t boring.

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