Be My Cat: A Film for Anne

Last updated
Be My Cat: A Film for Anne
Be My Cat A Film for Anne's Poster.jpg
Official Poster
Directed byAdrian Țofei
Produced byAdrian Țofei
Written byAdrian Țofei
Starring
  • Adrian Țofei
  • Sonia Teodoriu
  • Florentina Hariton
  • Alexandra Stroe
CinematographyAdrian Țofei
Edited byAdrian Țofei
Distributed byTerror Films
Release date
  • March 1, 2015 (2015-03-01)(Fantasporto [1] [2] )
  • December 5, 2016 (2016-12-05)(Limited VOD Release)
  • April 27, 2018 (2018-04-27)(VOD Release)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryRomania
LanguageEnglish
Budget$10,000 [3]

Be My Cat: A Film for Anne is a 2015 English-language Romanian found footage psychological horror feature film directed, produced, written by and starring Adrian Țofei, about an aspiring Romanian filmmaker obsessed with Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway who goes to shocking extremes to convince Anne to star in his upcoming film.

Contents

It is Adrian Țofei's first film and Romania's first found footage horror movie, winner of Best Film at the 2015 A Night of Horror International Film Festival in Sydney and Best Actor for Țofei at the 2016 Nashville Film Festival, named one of the "top 5 best horror movies of 2016" by Dread Central, one of the "top 5 new intelligent found footage films" by Blumhouse and one of the "top 7 recent European horror films" by Film Threat. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

Austin Chronicle called it "terrifying" and compared it to a modern Peeping Tom , Little White Lies called it "a prime example of meta-cinema" and said it falls between Man Bites Dog and Creep , and Dread Central described it as "potentially revolutionary and dangerous". [10] [11] [12]

Be My Cat: A Film for Anne has been released by Adrian Țofei on VOD and DVD in 2016 and 2017 and then benefited from a wider release by Terror Films in 2018. In 2020 Terror Films teamed up with Cinedigm to expand the release. [13] [14] [15]

Plot

An aspiring Romanian filmmaker and actor obsessed with Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway tries to convince her to come to Romania and star alongside him in his upcoming film. He goes to shocking extremes using three local actresses to shoot demo scenes to send to Anne as proof of his filmmaking and acting skills.

Adrian explains that the film he is making is not, in reality, Be My Cat. Be My Cat is a film he has written so Anne Hathaway can play the leading role. He states that his interest in Anne and making this film came from her portrayal of Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises, citing a love for cats.

The first actress that he uses as an example of his directorial style is a girl named Sonia, whose parents drop her off with Adrian at an abandoned house down the street from where he stays with his mother. Adrian begins shooting a scene with Sonia that doubles as a frustrating acting exercise. It becomes clear that Be My Cat is about a stalker obsessed with an actress, and the lines start to blur between Adrian as director and Adrian as the character. Increasingly frustrated and frightened, Sonia calls the police. After talking with her, Adrian explains to the police that it was a misunderstanding and convinces Sonia to shoot another scene at night. In the night scene the stalker uses chloroform to abduct the actress. In the second take, Adrian uses real chloroform and knocks Sonia out.

After taking her to his bedroom Adrian procures a cat suit. Before undressing her and putting the cat suit on her, Adrian explains to the camera (now personified as “Anne”) that he would never do this in real life, and that it is only him in character. He also states that he is worthy of Anne in every way, betraying that his intentions for Anne may be more than artistic. Adrian stays the night beside the knocked out Sonia. When she wakes up frightened he insists that she must be sacrificed for her art. He chokes Sonia to death and hides her body in the basement.

While going to meet the second actress Adrian explains that he was bullied in the past, and due to this he dislikes boys and dogs for their meanness and likes girls and cats due to their sweetness and innocence. He also explains that the character in his film seeks to turn the actress character into a surrogate of his cat that he accidentally killed, and that this is based on how he accidentally killed his cat as a child. He ironically chances upon a dead cat on the side of the road.

Upon meeting the second actress Flori, Adrian is disappointed, as she had sent him pictures of herself when she was younger. Displeased with her age and weight, Adrian berates her. Flori offers him sexual favors in exchange to let her be in the movie, which disgusts Adrian. He tells Anne that he will not accept.

In the next scene Adrian has apparently allowed Flori to stay as they pick up the third actress, a young girl name Alexandra. Adrian asks Alexandra to wait upstairs and he performs surgery on Flori with a kitchen knife in the basement. Two neighbors come and investigate when they hear Flori’s screams but Adrian assures them that they are filming a horror movie. Later that night Adrian returns with a cat suit, having surgically thinned Flori, intending for her to wear it and be transformed. He is surprised to find her dead from blood loss. He acknowledges and enjoys that he has completely disappeared into his character and therefore can send Alexandra home, already having proved his abilities to Anne.

While Adrian is retrieving trash bags, Alexandra comes downstairs and finds Flori’s body. Adrian finds himself faced with a dilemma, not wanting to kill Alexandra but knowing she will turn him in. She tries to talk him out of killing her and briefly tries to escape. Realizing she cannot escape, she continues to reason with Adrian. Adrian finds himself somewhat attracted to Alexandra due to her resemblance to Anne Hathaway, but tells Anne not to be jealous and that he only loves her. Alexandra uses this and tells him that he needs to go to Anne. Adrian says he cannot due to his fear of leaving his hometown. Alexandra says that to win her he must face his fear and go to her. She excites Adrian with the ideas of marrying and having children with Anne Hathaway. He decides that she is right and agrees to let her live, on the condition that she will wait in the basement and give him thirty minutes to escape and leave for Hollywood. Alexandra wishes him luck as he decides that he does not need to make a movie after all, since the movie was just a means to be with Anne. Overjoyed, he turns off the camera, leaving his and Alexandra’s fates ambiguous.

Cast

Release

Festival release

Be My Cat: A Film for Anne had its world premiere on March 1 at the 2015 Fantasporto International Film Festival in Portugal in its initial 109 minutes version, [16] and then the Romanian premiere at the 2015 Transilvania International Film Festival. [17]

The movie's 87 minutes cut premiered at the 2015 Dracula Film Festival in Romania. [18] Over 25 more official selections followed, including at the 2015 A Night of Horror International Film Festival in Sydney (Australian premiere), [19] the 2016 Nashville Film Festival in the US (North American premiere), [20] 2016 Fright Nights in Vienna (Austrian premiere), [21] 2016 On Vous Ment! Mockumentary Film Festival (French premiere), [22] 2016 TromaDance Film Festival in New York City (East Coast Premiere), [23] 2016 Hamilton Film Festival (Canadian premiere), 2016 Toronto Indie Horror Fest (Toronto premiere), 2016 Other Worlds Austin Film Festival (Texas premiere), 2017 Horror-on-Sea Film Festival in the UK, 2017 Shockproof Film Festival in Prague, 2018 Unnamed Footage Festival in San Francisco, 2018 Nightmares Film Festival in Columbus, Ohio, and the 2018 Anchorage International Film Festival in Alaska.

VOD and DVD release

Adrian Țofei released Be My Cat: A Film for Anne on Vimeo On Demand in December 2016 and then in 2017 on Amazon Video and, for a limited time, on DVD via Amazon. [24] [25] [26] [27] [14]

Terror Films acquired the movie's worldwide distribution rights in late 2017 and gave it a wider release starting with April 2018 on Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play, Microsoft / Xbox, Vudu, and later on Steam, Screambox, Vidi, Tubi, Roku and POV Horror. In 2020 Terror Films teamed up with Cinedigm to expand the release. [13] [28] [15]

Reception

Critical response

Be My Cat: A Film for Anne has been widely acclaimed by critics and currently holds an 83% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. [29]

It has been included by Dread Central in "Top 5 Best Horror Movies of 2016", [8] by Blumhouse in "Top 5 New Intelligent Found Footage Films You Need to See", [7] by YardBarker in "Top 20 Best Found Footage Horror Films", [30] by Film Threat in "Top 7 Recent European Horror Films Worth Watching" [9] and by Audiences Everywhere in "Top 50 Best Horror Movies of the 2000s". [31]

Austin Chronicle called it "terrifying" [10] and wrote that it's "a jaw-dropping character study of a murderer, made all the more grueling and transfixing because of Țofei’s performance. Adrian (the character) is as unlikely a killer as Norman Bates, but that’s what makes him so terrifying. This is emotional extreme horror, but you won’t be able to look away. Adrian Țofei’s pointed decision to avoid overt gore, instead concentrating on the interactions, makes the film something akin to a modern Peeping Tom." [10]

Little White Lies wrote that the movie "is a prime example of meta-cinema, endlessly blurring the line between behind-the-scenes reality and onscreen fantasy, between documentary and fiction, while also repeatedly commenting on the process of its own making. The results are an unnerving study in cinephilia and erotomania, falling somewhere between Rémy Belvaux's Man Bites Dog and Patrick Brice’s Creep." [11]

Blumhouse wrote: “Adrian scared the shit out of me, often entering the realm of paralyzing. If you think that’s a joke, give the film a look and tell me the chloroform sequence doesn’t send a wave of shivers racing down your spine.” [7]

Dread Central gave the movie 4 stars and wrote that "Be My Cat takes meta-filmmaking to mind-bending levels and plays out like an arthouse snuff film. Simply calling it unique is an understatement. What we have here is potentially revolutionary and, like the most impactful examples of uncompromising art, potentially dangerous. The line between fact and fiction has never been so terrifyingly and brilliantly blurred." [12]

28DLA gave it 4 stars as well, called it a "disturbing found footage masterpiece" [32] and added that "the authenticity comes from exceptionally strong performances by an excellent cast. Sonia Teodoriu, Florentina Hariton, Alexandra Stroe and Adrian Țofei are so convincing that, at times, it’s uncomfortable to watch." [32]

Dean Bertram from A Night of Horror described Be My Cat: A Film for Anne as "the most revolutionary addition to the found footage genre since The Blair Witch Project and infinitely more convincing and frightening" [19] and Lloyd Kaufman from TromaDance wrote that it's "a new masterpiece in horror". [33]

Audiences Everywhere named it "dangerous and progressive" [34] and added that "the film is fascinating, challenging and essential for the evolution of found footage horror." [34] Mondo Exploito wrote that it "totally transcends the trappings of the found footage subgenre to create a truly unique experience that will be talked about for years to come." [35] Addicted to Horror Movies said it's "the rare original horror film that fans scream for", [36] PopHorror wrote, "I couldn't take my eyes off the screen" [37] and Cinehouse called it a "cinematic miracle". [38]

Found Footage Critic rated the movie 9.7 out of 10 and wrote that it's "a near perfect horror/thriller found footage film that sets itself apart in acting, cinematography, plot, tone, execution and production value. Found footage fan or not, this is a film you won’t want to miss! The acting of Adrian Țofei and the three supporting cast, Sonia Teodoriu, Florentina Hariton and Alexandra Stroe, is nothing short of exceptional, resulting in a genuineness that I have yet to encounter in any other found footage film to date.". [39]

Adrian Țofei received praise for his acting performance as well, which has been described by critics as “incredible", “exceptionally strong", “authentic", “excellent throughout", “complex”, “powerfully convincing”, "captivating", "shockingly good", "haunting" and “frighteningly natural“. [40] [41] PopHorror included it "Top 5 Must-See Indie Horror Performances of the Decade" [42] and Artsploitation said that Țofei did "the most believable movie psychopath since Norman Bates." [40]

Awards and festivals

Festival / Event (year)AwardRecipientResultRef.
A Night of Horror International Film Festival (2015)Best FilmAdrian ȚofeiWon [5]
Best DirectorAdrian ȚofeiNominated [43]
Best Male PerformanceAdrian ȚofeiNominated [43]
Best Female PerformanceAlexandra StroeNominated [43]
Nashville Film Festival (2016)Grand Jury PrizeAdrian ȚofeiNominated [6]
Special Jury Prize for Best ActorAdrian ȚofeiWon [6]
Fantasporto International Film Festival (2015)Best FilmAdrian ȚofeiNominated [43]
Transilvania International Film Festival (2015)Best Romanian Feature FilmAdrian ȚofeiNominated [43]
Anchorage International Film Festival (2018)Best Narrative FeatureAdrian ȚofeiNominated [43]
Hamilton Film Festival (2016)Best ActorAdrian ȚofeiWon [44]
Nightmares Film Festival (2018)Best Thriller FeatureAdrian ȚofeiNominated [43]
Best Actor FeatureAdrian ȚofeiNominated [43]
Other Worlds Austin Film Festival (2016)Best Feature DirectorAdrian ȚofeiNominated [43]
On Vous Ment! Mockumentary Film Festival (2016)Grand Prize for Best Feature FilmAdrian ȚofeiWon [22]
Fright Nights Vienna (2016)Best FilmAdrian ȚofeiNominated [45]
Horror Cinema Awards (2018)Best First FeatureAdrian ȚofeiNominated [46]
Deep Cut AwardAdrian ȚofeiWon [46]
Dracula Film Festival (2015)Special MentionAdrian ȚofeiWon [47]
Area de Contencao: Cartaxo International Fantastic & Horror Film Festival (2015)Out of the Box Jury AwardAdrian ȚofeiWon [48]
Out of the Box Audience AwardAdrian ȚofeiWon [48]
UNDO Divergent Film Awards (2019)Best Dark Comedy FeatureAdrian ȚofeiNominated [43]
CrashLanded Film Festival (2019)Best Horror FilmAdrian ȚofeiWon [48]
TromaDance Film Festival (2016)Official SelectionAdrian Țofein/a [23]
Unnamed Footage Festival (2018)Official SelectionAdrian Țofein/a [49]
Horror-on-Sea Film Festival (2017)Official SelectionAdrian Țofein/a [50]
Toronto Indie Horror Fest (2016)Official SelectionAdrian Țofein/a [51]
Bram Stoker International Film Festival (2015)Official SelectionAdrian Țofein/a [52]
Torremolinos International Fantastic Film Festival (2015)Official SelectionAdrian Țofein/a [53]
Zinema Zombie Fest (2015)Official SelectionAdrian Țofein/a [54]
Shockproof Film Festival (2017)Official SelectionAdrian Țofein/a [55]
Indigo Moon Film Festival (2018)Official SelectionAdrian Țofein/a [56]
Mostra Livre de Cinema (2018)Official SelectionAdrian Țofein/a [14]
Halloweenapalooza (2018)Official SelectionAdrian Țofein/a [14]
Davis Great Bay Area International Film Festival (2018)Official SelectionAdrian Țofein/a [14]
Eko International Film Festival (2019)Official SelectionAdrian Țofein/a [14]
Kapitularz: Lodz Fantastic Film Festival (2018)Official SelectionAdrian Țofein/a [14]
Kocham Dziwne Kino (I Love Strange Cinema) Film Festival (2019)Official SelectionAdrian Țofein/a [14]

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