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For two decades, Odense Zoo in Denmark has been performing public dissections of animals that they have put down to control certain populations and prevent inbreeding. In the short documentary In a Lion (2018), the Polish director Karol Lindholm captures the zoo’s educational event, called ‘Animals Inside Out’, without sparing the viewer the graphic details. Throughout, the adults and many children observing seem to look on with a combination of fascination, horror and disgust, as the cheerful zoo employees reveal ever more layers of the animal’s innards. While the film’s end titles reveal that Lindholm sees the display as inhumane, his portrait can also be read as something of a provocation to audiences who would much rather not see an animal dissection, even when animal exploitation is often an unspoken undercurrent in their everyday lives.
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