Since debuting as a feature-length directorial duo in 2014 with the controversial Uncle Tony, Three Fools and the Secret Service, Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova have never steered away from posing tough questions, especially ones that are reflected in their contemporary Bulgarian society.
In their first fiction feature, Cat in the Wall, Mileva and Kazakova utilize their reportage skills to create a gripping dramedy in the vein of Kitchen Sink realism. Irina, portrayed fiercely by Irina Atanasova in her debut performance, is a Bulgarian single mother who’s raising her child on a council estate in London. Being a homeowner and busy architect, she’s discontent with the squalor of her communal spaces. Her boiling point is reached when a neighbor informs her about the share of the bill she’ll have to front for building-wide updates. Enraged and mobilized by these unfair charges, Irina and her brother, a socialist whom she lives with and who watchers her son, begin meeting with their neighboring homeowners. Meanwhile, an instance with a cat only builds a bigger divide between the residents, living on benefits, and the providers.
Mileva and Kazakova’s orderly and tight direction persists even as the chaos in Irina’s life further unfolds. At once taking on the cinematographic characters of London’s storied filmmaking, while adding an outsider’s perspective, Cat in the Wall represents a vital chapter in contemporary socially conscious cinema. Fearless in their ideas about gentrification, class, migration, Brexit and more, Mileva and Kazakova continue paving their career as mavericks.