Review: Romanian Found Footage ‘Be My Cat’ is Unsettling
By: Nicholas J. Spacek
Adrian Țofei’s Be My Cat: A Film for Anne is Romania’s first found footage horror movie, and it is spectacularly unsettling. Țofei wrote, directed, produced, and stars in this film, which is about a young man in Romania who is making a movie in order to convince Anne Hathaway to come and star in a movie he is making. As the film progresses, the character of Țofei goes to ever-increasing (and disturbing) lengths to prove himself to the Hollywood actress.
At the beginning of Be My Cat, Țofei’s self-shot movie seems a lot like a very earnest project undertaken by a genuine and childlike young man. Very quickly, though, A Film for Anne becomes something more akin to a prom ask video gone terribly wrong.
“I would never do something like this in real life,” explains Țofei at one point early in the film. Mind, he’s in the midst of undressing and reclothing a woman whom he has chloroformed and kidnapped while he says this. Țofei the actor / director is “in character” throughout the entire of the film he’s shooting, and the line blurs as to whether this is Țofei actually making a movie for Anne Hathaway or whether this is the plot of a film he’s self-shooting.
The dark humor and blurring of the lines between the subject of the film and the film’s subject really remind the viewers of nothing so much as a one-man version of the French film, Man Bites Dog. The macabre laughs and gradual descent of the person behind the camera into willing violence are a perfect reminder of why that movie worked so well.
Be My Cat works primarily due to Țofei’s childlike enthusiasm throughout the whole of the film. His smile, his absolute positivity about everything, and willingness to let himself shine through keep the movie rolling along after a fantastic open slows down in the middle section. The ending perks it all back up, however, and the brilliance of showing absolutely nothing in a scene of what’s evidently brutal torture is ostensibly a conceit to protect the sensibilities of Ms. Hathaway, but it’s a wonderfully low-budget way to create a sense of terror and leave the viewer cringing.
While found footage can be a tiresome experience, director Țofei has created a film which engages and keeps the viewer questioning the whole way through, and never sticks to expectations as to what this genre does. It’s a lot of fun, and the experience of rooting for a madman has never been quite so heart-warming.
Adrian Țofei’s Be My Cat: A Film for Anne is available via Vimeo On Demand starting December 5, and will be available via Amazon Prime and Video, as well as DVD, starting in January.
Keep the Fear Alive!