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Casuistry: The Art of Killing a Cat

Zev Asher
2004, Canada, 91 minutes
International Premiere

Women's Building

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There’s no two ways about it – this is a film about a very unpleasant subject. Casuistry (don’t know what it means? That’s what Google’s for) tells the story of an ill-conceived art project gone terribly wrong. In 2001, three guys in Canada, high on datura and armed with a video camera and a knife, messily and brutally killed a cat, ostensibly to protest our unthinking consumption of factory-slaughtered animals. An alarmed roommate told the police, they were arrested, and they became wildly notorious and rightly scorned.

Casuistry premiered at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival amidst a firestorm of controversy, the film condemned by people who’d never seen it as a glorification of the cat-killers. But they weren’t even close – Asher’s film is a serious and unsettling exploration of this gruesome story. Be prepared to be upset – though the cat-killing film is thankfully never glimpsed, this is not a film for the squeamish. Bruce Kirkland of the Toronto Sun calls the film, “a searing portrait of one of the darkest sides of human nature.”

Asher (What About Me: The Rise of the Nihilist Spasm Band, DocFest 2001) has this to say about his new movie:

“When I set out to make this documentary, I wanted to tell the story from as many perspectives as possible. We interviewed one of the detectives that arrested the boys, along with animal rights activists and other critics. We also interviewed the cat killers. In the end, what angered so many people was that I gave these guys a chance to tell their side of the story.”

- Tod Booth

After the ApocolypseI, Curmudgeon The Myth