Pussy People – Short Film Review

 

Andrew Lang’s Pussy People is a tongue in cheek documentary about the world of cat enthusiasts. The film begins with cat show president Dorothy Woodhouse, flanked by rosettes and cages, explaining her views on cruelty towards cats (she’s resolute that she would ‘deck’ anyone mistreating one of her feline friends). In as much as Pussy People is a documentary about the culture surrounding cat ownership then, it is also an exercise in comedy, with the film carefully choosing the perfect moment to show images which contradict its interviewees’ words, all in the name of silly humour.

As tempting as it might be to accuse this documentary of ridiculing it subjects though, the cat owners do much to send themselves up as well. Beryl Reeves (who makes replica models of deceased cats for grieving owners) looks cheekily back at the camera saying, ‘Good job I don’t do humans’, whilst Woodhouse points out that the length of her marriage exceeds more than four life sentences. But even though Pussy People is a gag-a-minute, it still makes a sincere attempt to understand and explain the behavior of the people it examines – the film’s title being a case in point: Before we’ve even started to watch this documentary, this crude piece of alliteration brings a smirk to our faces (‘Pussy People': Just think about it.), but this also a clever wordplay, inviting us to think about the relationship between pet and owner, and to question the nature of personal identity. ‘I don’t call them cats, they’re little people’, says Woodhouse. ‘Okay, they’re four legged and they’ve got fur, and they meow instead of speak. But they’re little people’. These last words come softly, and we realise that this documentary actually sets out to reveal something quite profound about the human condition; that our deepest empathies know no genetic boundaries, and that ‘people’ is a term that should be used loosely.

Pussy People strikes a careful balance between insight and comedy, and as such, remains light without becoming insubstantial. Good natured and thoughtful, this documentary is not one to miss.

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This post is part of a series on Greenhorn Short Film Festival. You can read my review of other short films screened at Greenhorn, as well as a review of the festival itself, here:

Greenhorn Short Film Festival

Tired of Swimming

Pussy People

Golden

3 thoughts on “Pussy People – Short Film Review

  1. Pingback: Golden – Short Film Review | Benn Veasey

  2. Pingback: Tired of Swimming – Short Film Review | Benn Veasey

  3. Pingback: Brand Spanking New: Greenhorn Short Film Festival | Benn Veasey

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