Casuistry: The Art of Killing a Cat (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

Casuistry: The Art of Killing a Cat (2005)

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You'll find the word "casuistry" (pronounced kazoo-istry) in most dictionaries, just above "cat." It refers to a method of ethical analysis which takes into account the unique circumstances of particular cases. The term is often used disparagingly, in reference to specious justifications. Casuistry: The Art of Killing a Cat scratches its way beneath the surface of an infamous Toronto animal cruelty case, deftly exploring the opaque logic surrounding this macabre act.Jesse Power, ex-vegetarian, was an art student when he conceived a new project. In May 2001, he enlisted two friends, Anthony Wennekers and Matthew Kaczorowski, to help him kill a cat. The intention was to make a video that protested the unthinking consumption of factory-slaughtered animals by killing, cooking and eating a cherished domestic pet - a feline posthumously named Kensington by animal-rights activists. Alerted by an outraged roommate, the police found the skinned and decapitated cat in the beer fridge. Kaczorowski fled and was apprehended in Vancouver two years later. All three eventually pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and mischief charges.Fair warning: this is not an easy film. Incorporating interviews with the cat killers, as well as journalists, artists, animal activists and concerned citizens, Casuistry also contains disturbing imagery - though, mercifully, not the notorious cat video. Filmmaker Zev Asher eschews rote advocacy; rather, his documentary lurks curiously in murky terrain, playing like the punk B-side of an Errol Morris film. He places us in a unique space, one which vacillates between serious reflection, horror, transgression, banality, righteousness, humour and - mostly - paradox.-- © Rough Age Projectiles

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Critic Reviews for Casuistry: The Art of Killing a Cat

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (4)

[An] offbeat but engrossing package.

April 27, 2005

Zev Asher's documentary film follows an incident in which three young men went on trial after they videotaped themselves torturing and killing a cat.

April 27, 2005 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Director-writer Zev Asher's film is a balanced examination of the incident, which caused a media stampede that blew the case out of proportion.

April 27, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

In deliberate, clinical fashion, Zev Asher's documentary catches up with a notorious Canadian case of art versus animal cruelty.

April 26, 2005 | Full Review…

Generally, the whole lot get a chance to speak their minds, to contextualize the events, and most come off as completely awful people, from either side of the issue. In the end, this alone makes for Casuistry being a great documentary experience.

June 21, 2007 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

Asher never really addresses the only interesting issue related to the whole vile affair: Can what Power and his pals did be considered art? And at what point can such art no longer be justified?

April 27, 2005 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

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