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Cat Call – Raindance 2024 (Film Review)

2 min read

Cat Call, aka Cicaverzum by Hungarian director Rozália Szeleczki has been nominated for Best Debut Feature, Best Debut Director and Best Performance in a Debut at 2024. 

The film opens with a memorable tracking shot across the cast and crew's names engraved on headstones in a Budapest cemetery. The camera follows the central character, 30-year-old architect Fáni, who has a penchant for dressing in bold 60's- inspired outfits, befitting the whimsical fun of Cat Call. 

Fáni has been haunted by her father's death since she was a child. Her trauma hovers over her with a generous dose of guilt, threatening every instance of romantic interaction she has. She imagines the gruesome and gory death of every man she's attracted to in the first few minutes of meeting them. 

But Fáni's tragic affliction is shaken when her new colleague Mihály, moves in next door with his cat, Smoothie. Smoothie is a black cat that lives up to his name with his silky fur and his deep, velvety voice that only Fáni can hear. She's bowled over by his feline charms as she discovers that her horrifying visions of death aren't present around Smoothie. The pair develop a bond that is solidified in the beginning, with a steady supply of a treat called ‘ChillCat' that is essentially cat-crack and fuels a couple of funny scenes. 

At many points, the relationship between Fáni and Smoothie verges on embarrassingly weird in its attempt to be cool-quirky. Although the script is a little disjointed, there are redeeming qualities to take note of. The stylistic choices are reminiscent of the iconic whimsy romcom, Amélie.  The camera's soft focus combined with a bright colour palette embeds the playfulness of everything in Cat Call. The environment is also unique, as seen in Fáni's flat which oozes retro-chic with its circular glass windows and stained glass, flamboyant wall prints and unabashed pastel pinks. 

Franciska Törőcsik's performance as the frenzied Fáni is well-deserved for recognition. Equally, Dorottya Udvaros who plays her slightly deranged occultist mother also comes out on top. Obviously, it would be remiss not to mention the actor cat who plays Smoothie who does a splendid job of graciously accepting being dressed up as a gangsta rapper. Some would say that's cliché cat humour, however, it's just so daft that you can't help but laugh. 

Cat Call is abundant in stylish eccentricity. It sometimes loses its way in the craziness of it all but it's silly-fun and might just brighten your day. 

Cat Call is screening as part of Raindance Film Festival at Prince Charles Cinema on 25th June 2024.