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Jeffrey Deubler: „MADAM BLACK”


Dead Cat Travelling

Imagine your cat goes travelling the world and writes postcards to you. “Madam Black tells the tale of a photographer who runs over a child’s pet and fabricates an elaborate series of lies to explain it’s whereabouts.” – Ivan Barge In the opening shot the supposed main character is taking photos of a voluptuous woman in a night gown which makes you wonder where the movie will take you. The photographer is really not excited about the photo session saying “fucking hell” when he leaves her house and is obligated to come back tomorrow for another session. You can feel that he is not happy about the situation and that he would rather be somewhere else, somewhere more exciting. It seems that he is not a very popular photographer, really just a normal guy doing his job without any glamour. Running over a pet with his car on his way home he encounters a child searching for her pet. After telling the child he saw her cat, which is the last time he is telling the truth, there is no more way back to the truth. He does not say anything about the immediate death of the cat but instead he comes up with a bunch of lies and each lie building on the last set of lies, going deeper and deeper. After throwing away the cat when returning home, you feel sad because in this moment you may think he betrayed the child by not delivering what he told in his lies before. The day after he got the cat out of the garbage bin and started cleaning it. The main character becomes very invested in preparing the cat to create new stories, new lies. You will ask yourself why he does it? What is his motivation? Does he want to do something good for the child because he killed her cat? Does he want to make a good impression in front of the child’s mother? Becoming very invested in the cat he also builds a relationship with the cat, taking her to several different places around the world, staging the cat in front of his camera, even taking her to bed and sleeping with her. This feels both weird and funny at the same time. He is creating stories of the cats whereabouts and the cats new found life and is visualising everything by using his camera equipment and photo studio. His life as a photographer has become very exciting at that point, even though he doesn’t make any money with staging the cat. Bringing back “postcards” to the child and her mother he is also reading the postcards to both of them, developing a relationship to both the child and the mother. One day he comes back to the house with sunglasses on and beautiful flowers in his hands. The colours in this scene are very vivid, the sun is shining, everything seems perfect. You get a feeling that he will ask out the child’s mother for a date or something like that and everything seems perfect for that moment. Except for a grown up, good looking man showing up and playing with the child which could be her father. In this moment you will feel the disappointment and sadness within the main character as all of his hope is vanished in a matter of seconds. All the lies and stories he created to reach that point were in vain. Still the main character has developed a relationship to the child named Tilly as she calls the photographer Marcus by his first name. Marcus wants to put an end to all of the relationships he built throughout the last few days but Tilly has birthday tomorrow, so he has to come up with some more lies again for another day. At this moment you may feel excited about what he will come up with tomorrow. It creates some kind of tension in the viewers. The next day Marcus arrives at Tilly’s birthday party with a big box being the present for Tilly. Seeing the box at first glance you wonder if inside will be stuffed Madam Black because the present is in a taxidermy box. As it turns out, Marcus gives Tilly a new, alive baby cat as present. Still the baby cat was packaged in the taxidermy box which makes it macabre and funny. In the last picture of the film you see a photo book with the cat named Madam Black in different pictures, looking very strange and funny which makes you wonder if Tilly really doesn’t understand what was going on or if she just does not want to understand it and live in a created, happy dreamworld reality full of lies as many people do even if they are grown up persons. “According to Diamant, she and Kafka met a little girl in a park who was crying because she had lost her doll. Kafka told her not to worry since the doll was away on a trip and would be sending correspondence.” – Ivan Barge Rating (5/6).

author: Jeffrey Deubler