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Vesela Kazakova & Mina Mileva | Cat in The Wall

Vesela Kazakova & Mina Mileva | Cat in The Wall

[…] From this perspective (both Bulgarian and English), the story of the contention of the cat is the opportunity to focus on the destiny of European welfare, where one has the impression that the rules are not made for the man, but the man for the rules.

Filmexplorer had the chance to meet the two filmmakers in Locarno and to discuss with them about their last film.

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After having seen two documentaries banned by Bulgarian state authority - Uncle Tony, Three Fools, and the Secret Service (2014) and The Beast Is Still Alive (2016) - Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova turned to a feature film whose protagonist is a cat. This choice does not diminish the political commitment and the activist tasks of the two filmmakers though; on the contrary, with Cat in the Wall they deliver a piercing and poignant portrait of Londonian middle-lower class, which impresses with the subtle and realist way of their getting to the point. Or, actually, to the points, for, with the comic thread of a cat stuck in a hole in an apartment building, Cat in the Wall encompasses the questions of gentrification, Brexit, migration, racism, and social prejudice, but also solidarity and social empathy. One could say that the true topic of the film is socialism, from the housing projects of the Fifties to the current bureaucratised and inhuman interpretations of the rule of law, from the utopias of common living to the injustices of social privileges. From this perspective (both Bulgarian and English), the story of the contention of the cat is the opportunity to focus on the destiny of European welfare, where one has the impression that the rules are not made for the man, but the man for the rules.

Even if the structure of a simple story that conveys social criticism reminds us of Ken Loach’s style of filming, it would be unjust to reduce Cat in the Wall to this “genre”, at the very least because Mileva & Kazakova draw a social landscape that is not dependent on a sharp distinction between good and evil, between the exploiters and the exploited. The drama is nourished by an almost documentary realism, and the complexity of the filmic picture is expressed through the great attention dedicated to the details, which reveal a sharp sense of observation. Donka Ivanova’s editing is also praiseworthy, together with the brilliant cinematography by Dimitar Kostov, who had the difficult task of coping with a film that is almost entirely shot in tiny apartments, with children and a cat. Exceptional are the cast of actors - often during their first experience - like the amazing Irina Atanasova, who embodies the protagonist, Irina, a figure who is almost always present, without ever being redundant: hats off!

Text: Giuseppe Di Salvatore | Audio/Video: Ruth Baettig

First published: August 28, 2019

Cat in the Wall | Film | Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova | BG-UK-FR 2019 | 92’ | Locarno Film Festival 2019

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