Though just 15 minutes long, A Cat Is Always Female paints an evocative portrait of Croatian artist and sculptor Marija Ujevic Galetovic – though she prefers to call herself a “manual labourer”. Directed by two of Galetovic’s students, the documentary is an inventive look at her work, narrated by snippets of an interview with the artist musing about her life and creative process.

The visuals are mind-boggling at first. Sketched spheres are often added to images of the filmmakers, the dark balls rolling across the screen before growing limbs and transforming into the stony, nude sculptures that are Galetovic’s signature. Many consist simply of torsos and long legs, some have the feline features to which the film’s title refers; all are distinctly feminine. 

The female figure is obviously a huge source of inspiration, and Galetovic speaks of the innate strength of women as well as how she has been judged throughout her career for being one. She recalls being told that women do not think, they’re just for decoration – “you’re right”, she says, “they do not need to think, because they know”.

A scratchy, tapping score adds to the sense of surrealism, but there are real life shots amongst the animation – most memorable is a time lapse of several of the sculptures, standing dotted throughout a garden. The way the rapidly moving sun casts shadows between them is mesmerising, and strikes of lightning as the day turns into night imply some kind of mystical power is building amongst the limbless clay army.

Short, sharp, and uniquely creative in its visual storytelling, A Cat Is Always Female is a curiously self-reflective profile of one of Croatia’s most important artists. Clearly a woman to be reckoned with, it’s unsurprising that Galetovic is the very subject through which her students are finding their voice.



CAST: Marija Ujevic Galetovic, Martina Mestrovic, Tanja Vujasinovic

DIRECTORS: Martina Mestrovic, Tanja Vujasinovic

SYNOPSIS: The work of legendary Croatian artist Marija Ujevic Galetovic is brought to life through surreal video footage and animations.