Ostensibly a documentary about pet owners in Vienna, this disturbing 1995 film by Ulrich Seidl looks at assorted lonely hearts who shower affection on their dogs and rabbits. Most of them live on the fringes of society—immaculate spinsters, a straitlaced male couple, two bums who live in a junkyard—and Seidl, whose deliberately provocative portraiture mixes fact and fiction, often films his subjects in grotesque poses suggestive of Diane Arbus. A good half of the film is riveting, as we’re introduced to the various menageries and listen in as the owners talk about the sense of alienation softened by their obliging pets. Yet Seidl can’t get a narrative rhythm going, cutting from one scene to the next without much logic and letting some shots linger too long (is the young couple going at it doggie style supposed to be a visual pun?). Ultimately his curiosity about these disenfranchised souls gives way to disdain, and that’s a perversity in itself. In German with subtitles. 114 min.