Dead Cat is a funny, engaging and thoughtful film about being 30 something and realising what is important: it’s a kind of coming of age film for adults. Relationships of all sorts are at the heart of this very British film: friendships, love and romance, families.
Michael’s life is messy. The cat died, he’s got no girlfriend, his dad hardly speaks to him, and he’s struggling to make a living as a photographer. Can it get any worse? Oh yes. During an awkward speed-dating event he comes
face to face with an ex-girlfriend. THE ex-girlfriend. Michael and Kristen had been childhood sweethearts but had broken up long ago. They’ve both made new lives, but each are adrift on a sea of unhappiness. Will they work out a happy future together? Do they even want to?
The prickly relationship between Michael and his dad is handled deftly: they have drifted apart since the death of Michael’s mum 18 months before, grieving apart rather than together. Director Stefan Georgiou says, “ We wanted to address the effect parent/child relationships have on future relationships, as well as the common situation now of people around 30 still living at home”. Michael’s group of friends provides his one constant; they are endearing and hilarious as they tackle their own issues and try to support him. “We wrote the parts of the four friends specifically for those four actors,” says Georgiou. “They are also close friends so we knew if we wrote it accurately the dynamic would work”. Much of the banter was improvised before shooting, which lends authenticity to those scenes, especially in Marco’s café.
DEAD CAT showcases the UK film industry’s emerging acting and technical talent.
DEAD CAT is set in North London; the locations are terrific, showing London off beautifully but realistically. It’s good to see the city as an ordinary place to live and work, rather than as the epitome of social deprivation or of corporate greed. DEAD CAT showcases the UK film industry’s emerging acting and technical talent. Sebastian Armesto stars as Michael, supported by Sophia Dawnay as Kristen, Tom Mison as Tim, Johnny Palmeiro as Marco, and cowriter Sam Bern plays hirsute Sam. The film has made its presence felt on the festival circuit this year at Oaxaca, the Indie Spirit Film Festival in Colorado Springs, Southampton International Film Festival and now Cambridge Film Festival.
DEAD CAT has that very British ‘understated’ feel to it rather like GROW YOUR OWN or even ANOTHER YEAR: the drama is allowed to breathe and to develop without rushing or feeling the need to explain everything. The characters are unshowy and natural, the cinematography sharp, the colour palette is warm. And by the end you’ll know why the film’s title is what it is.
Meet director Stefan Georgiou at the screening of DEAD CAT at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse. Book tickets here
for screenings on Wednesday and Friday.