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...

Richard k sherwin

The path to heaven leads through the abyss. Friedrich Schelling, Philosophy of Religion Initiation lies at the core of any genuine human life. Mircea Eliade, Rites and Symbols of Initiation Reversal is the direction of study which transforms existence into script. Its new teacher is Bucephalus, the new advocate, who takes the road back without the powerful Alexander which means, rid of the onrushing conqueror . . . H e reads and turns the pages of our old books. . . The law which is studied but...

Notes

Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish The Birth of the Prison, trans. Alan Sheridan New York Pantheon, 1977 , 272. 2. The quotations are from D. A. Miller's Foucauldian analysis of nineteenth-century crime novels, The Novel and the Police, in The Poetics of Murder Detective Fiction and Literary Theory, ed. Glenn W. Most and William W. Stowe New York Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1983 , 316. 3. The quoted expressions belong to Robert Crooks, who sees the African American crime story in terms...

Neobaroque

Baroque law, like its counterpart in baroque art, embodies a distinctly decadent form the will to create has been divorced from the source of signifi-cance.62 This coincides with Scholem's formula for the status of law in Kafka's work.63 As Agamben puts it, What, after all, is the structure of the sovereign ban if not that of a law that is in force but does not signify 64 In this sense, the spectral reality of neo-baroque culture corresponds to that of neo-baroque law. Baroque culture bears...

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...