Conclusion

The great gift of culture is to give meaning to, and in so doing normalize, the constraint of desire. Accordingly, one of the key queries that lie at culture's core is what is the proper relation between law and desire, discipline and pleasure What sort of constraint in the name of what meaning or value, toward what end best serves our understanding of ethics and justice With this central query before us, it becomes plain why cultural criticism plays such an essential role within free...

Gendering Concepts of Law and Political Victimization

Death and the Maiden demonstrates how, when a society haunted by a traumatic past struggles to mold a new future, a victim's demand for public remembrance and recognition through legal discourse can clash with a wider social longing to forget and reconcile. Simultaneously, the film portrays this conflict from another perspective, as a conflict between a woman and her man. The woman demands that her story of sexual victimization and resistance be acknowledged within both marital and legal...

Identity Disturbances

A complex articulation of identity, space, and politics drives the narrative in Devil. What must be understood first is the historical heritage of African American creativity. As Houston A. Baker, Jr., summarizes it, All African American creativity is conditioned by (and part of) a historical discourse that privileges certain economic terms. The creative individual (the black subject) must perforce come to terms with 'commercial deportation' and the 'economics of slavery.' 20 As a result, Baker...

Introduction Administering Illegalities

In his Discipline and Punish, Michel Foucault charts the emergence of a productive relationship between modern policing and the delinquent milieu. Many of the consequences of this emergence, in which policing authorities suborn criminal informants to make use of their insider knowledge, are elaborated in twentieth-century hard-boiled detective fiction and in its cinematic film noir realizations. However the law-delinquency relationship requires a different political sensibility when one takes...

Introduction Law Dreams

It forgets its dreams and forgets that it dreams. Law dreams of law its hidden fantasies, desires, impulses, fears. Like all dreamers, law dreams in images taboo symbols, intimating forbidden knowledge amid forbidden urges. We repress law's disorder for the sake of its order. We repress its violence for the sake of its legitimacy. But as Freud taught, the price of repression is inescapable. In symptoms of disorder, the repressed returns. The dreams of law haunt the law....

Law and Film

This chapter's reading of a feature film demonstrates one type of work facilitated by the developing new field of law and film, which this edited collection purports to introduce. Law and film, an interdisciplinary, culturally oriented field in the making, can be viewed as a recent offshoot of the more established and familiar disciplines law and society and law and literature. Law and film scholarship cannot yet be defined scientifically or characterized by a distinct methodology or worldview....

Law as Initiation Rite Going Down with David Lynch

Leontia in Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale Doubtless, each organ-machine interprets the entire world from the perspective of its own flux, from the point of view of the energy that flows from it. Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus Mulholland Drive consists of a series of subversions, as film director Lynch, with infinite craft, leads (one is tempted to say seduces or tricks) the viewer from one plane of reality to another. The first two-thirds of the film turn out to be a dream...

Notes

Samuel Weber, Mass Mediauris or, Art, Aura, and Media in the Work of Walter Benjamin, in Walter Benjamin Theoretical Questions, ed. David Ferris (Stanford, Calif. Stanford University Press, 1996), 29. 2. Richard Sherwin, Picturing Justice Images of Law and Lawyers in the Visual Media, University of San Francisco Law Review 30 (1996) 894, 896. 3. Saul Morson, Narrative and Freedom The Shadows of Time (New Haven, Conn. Yale University Press, 1994), 117. 4. We are not claiming that film has a...

Roman Polanskis Death and the Maiden

It is not a trivial choice to study and celebrate a Roman Polanski film, and a film representing a rape victim and perpetrator in particular. I would like to conclude this chapter with some reflections on the connection between the themes I have pursued and the film's special character as a Polanski film. Writers and critics have noted Death and the Maiden's place in Polanski's canon. Lawrence Weschler insightfully asserts that 'Death and the Maiden' might have served as an alternative title...

Stanford University Press

Stanford University Press Stanford, California 2005 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system without the prior written permission of Stanford University Press Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Law on...

Structural Viewer Identification with Gerardo

Gerardo is an honest and reasonable man, a respectable, hard-working, successful lawyer, and a devoted family man. Stuart Wilson's character is pleasant looking, friendly, chubby. He is an appealingly contemporary everyman. Despite his respectable and distinguished social status, Gerardo treats his aggressive, unpleasant wife patiently and respectfully, even when she attacks him and trashes his dinner as he arrives home wet and tired at the end of a long day.41 The viewer's urge to identify...

Studying Law in Film

Yet scholars have only recently begun to examine how law works in this new arena and to explore the consequences of the representation of law in the moving image.8 Over a decade ago, Stewart Macaulay urged that attention be paid to what he called images of law in everyday life.9 Because people learn important lessons about law from a variety of sources, none more important than film (and) television, he called on legal scholars to become participant observers of . . . mass cultures.10 Like any...

The Dream Work Writ Large Law Culture and Power

Lynch's dream play may be read as prototypical. Let us call it a contemporary allegory of unchecked desire and unregulated power in a narcissistic world of mind and culture where knowledge is understood solely in terms of mastery or control.25 Let us call it a neo-baroque allegory a symbolic world of unadulterated narcissism. Behold the Hollywood kitsch culture of solip-sistic pleasure, embodied in Diane Selwyn's ambitions of stardom. This is Mulholland Drive, a fantasy world fueled by a...

The Initial Dream Work An Interpretation

Life is a great dream to dream in this big dream, and to speak of dreams, is to not know where the illusion is going to end. Tun-ch'eng, Enchantment and Disenchantment Mulholland Drive a love story in the city of dreams. Mulholland Drive begins with images of a surreal jitterbug sequence.9 We then see Diane Selwyn flanked by two parental figures the same figures who, in their frenzied, Furies-like reappearance at the end of the film, trigger Diane's suicide. Tightly shot in the opening...

Two Concepts of Law and Justice

Gerardo Escobar is the leading jurist of a society in limbo no longer under the tyrannical rule of dictators, Gerardo's country is not yet fully secure in its democratic identity and strength. Gerardo is a human rights expert and activist. Under the old regime, he risked his life heading a radical resistance movement. His heart was in the right place, as were his actions. Now he is confronted with the question of how the law of the land can best serve his country at this crucial, delicate time....

Cinematic and Extra Cinematic Space

Despite missing some of the opportunities in Mosley's pervasively color-coded story for a cinematic semiotics, Franklin's film version does effect the spatial narrative with historical depth that is central to Mosley's novel. Easy reluctantly accepts Albright's assignment to find Daphne Monet. Although the perils of Easy's assignment are treated within the moving frames of Devil, a discernment of the politics of the law-crime-race interrelationships requires us to heed what Noel Burch has...

Rape and Political Atrocities

Political atrocities committed by tyrannical regimes often include sexual abuse. The systematic mass rapes committed by Serbs in the former Yugoslavia remind us that mass rape can reach the dimensions of genocide.34 Death and the Maiden focuses on a single case of victimization in which the tormented victim of the dictatorial regime suffered, among other forms of torture, rape and sexual humiliation. But in the context of Paulina's confrontation of her rapist and husband, the film like the play...

Recovery from Trauma and the Features of the Legal Process

Law consists of clear, familiar, ritualistic moves, structuring and normalizing processes of confrontation and testimony. Almost automatically, Paulina reads her accusation against Dr. Miranda, charging him with rape and torture, and then offers him the floor for his defense. The painful, chaotic, and highly charged meeting between victim and aggressor is thus smoothly translated by these orderly legal moves into a manageable, well-organized procedure. The familiarity of the ritualistic moves...

White Stain in the Midst of Blackness

Devil in a Blue Dress begins with a powerful evocation of the spatio-tempor-ality of post-World War II black-white relations. The year is 1948. Easy Rawlins (Denzel Washington), having just lost his job in an airplane assembly plant, is sitting in Joppy's Bar in a black section of Los Angeles reading the employment pages of the newspaper's classified section. While at the individual level the scene introduces Easy's personal problem, at a collective level Mosley's opening provides ideal visual...

Broadening the Focus

As we see it, the next step in the development of law-film scholarship is to broaden the focus of such work beyond studies of how legal actors are portrayed in film, beyond the way films create subject positions, and beyond the analysis of genre. Specifically, there are three steps in this direction that can and should be taken, three steps that explain the content and organization of Law on the Screen. The first connects law and film as narrative forms the second studies film for its...

Elements of the Baroque Mind and Culture

Stripped to its barest impulse, postmodernism invites us to reencounter the inherited foundations for knowledge, meaning, and truth. One may say that this questioning represents a moment of crisis in traditional sources of authority. The baroque era, during the seventeenth century in Europe, was also a time of crisis and insecurity. Long years of warfare over competing religious viewpoints had created a climate rich in violence, cruelty, uncertainty, and despair. Events appeared to be moving...

Overview of the Book

We begin this volume with three studies of the representation of law in film, three examples that illuminate the narrative connections and disconnections between law and film and, at the same time, open up a dialogue about cinematic jurisprudence. The first, Orit Kamir's analysis of Roman Polanski's Death and the Maiden, takes up both of these concerns. Film and law, according to Kamir, share parallel discourses that both reflect and refract fundamental values in their societies. There is, she...

Ritual Initiation and the Ordeal of Justice Neobaroque Culture as a New Paradigm for

Neo-baroque law in the society of spectacle bears many characteristics of baroque culture in general, for here too we witness ramified aesthetic forms fueled by denial and devoid of normative content or compass. This diagnostic of the cultural conditions under which law is now developing tracks Ger-shom Scholem's powerful reading of Kafka's great modern parable, The Trial. Scholem's observations, which he recorded in a letter to Walter Benjamin, are recounted by Agamben Scholem defines the...

The Subversion of the Monomyth Oedipus

In Oedipus, Philosopher, Jean-Joseph Goux reads the myth of Oedipus as an anomaly. Matricide, not patricide, is at the heart of the heroic myth in its typical and universal form. Goux goes on The hero who is to become king is the hero who kills the female dragon, the female serpent, the female monstrosity, in bloody combat. By murdering a dangerous, dark, feminine force, the hero liberates the bride.35 According to Goux, the Oedipus myth disrupts this universal structure. It is, in his view, a...

Cinematic Reflections on Law and Truth Commissions

Death and the Maiden's ending discredits and exposes Gerardo's condescending formulation of law and justice, but this does not resolve the authentic dilemma regarding the desired nature of the legal system and its appropriate role in the transition from post-dictatorial regimes. Throughout the film, this dilemma was lost in the noise of Gerardo's bad-faith arguments deriving from personal weakness and selfish needs silencing this noise does not resolve the dilemma but merely exposes and...