Film Festival Reflections—The First Year

Here are some reflections from the first of what we hope will be many more Fordham Law Film Festivals: When I was a graduate student a number of years ago, New York City movie theaters, in the days before multiplexes, routinely featured film festivals built around either a particular director, film genre, or cinematic theme. Aside from other diminished experiences that movie lovers have been forced to endure–from bad films to high prices to cardboard pop corn to the utter failure of the major Hollywood studios to produce smart, serious films–the loss of the film festival is a particularly troubling tiny tragedy. The Fordham Law Film Festival reminded me what it’s like to showcase a number of films, over a number of days, centered around a particular theme, with an audience interested in a certain subject matter, followed by post-screening discussions led by an eclectic group of speakers in an


"In the Bedroom"

The last film of the Festival, and, perhaps, the most morally troubling of all the movies we screened, was “In the Bedroom.” After generic levitra all, this was the one film that didn’t have a dramatic trial scene and, in fact, had very little in the way of the law, and the legal system, functioning as backdrops and set pieces for the film. What it did have was a horrific revenge dillemma. When the law fails, as it so clearly did for the grieving parents who were forced to co-exist in a small town with the man who murdered their son, how do we expect those who experienced injustice to go about their lives? Can they, or should they, be expected to reconcile themselves to their loss and the law’s failure to meaningfully address their profound suffering? When justice returns with injustice, when the result is not just, how can


"Judgment at Nuremberg"

This film, despite its length, produced some of the most compelling and animated of audience reactions. It may have actually been the favorite film that we featured at the Fordham Law Film Festival. Most people in the audience had never seen the film before, and those who had, had never watched it in a crowded theater. Such are the consequences of living in an age of home entertainment centers and wide-screen plasma TVs. Professor Maria Marcus from Fordham Law School relayed the fact that her father had been a Supreme Court judge in Austria during the German occupation and the decisions and sacrifices that he had to make in order to maintain his moral survival and ethical integrity. Eli Rosenbaum, the director of the Office of Special Investigations, a division of the United States Department of Justice, explained the way in which his office still prosecutes and deports Nazi war


"A Time to Kill"

Our screening of “A Time to Kill,” with post-screening guests, criminal defense attorney, Benjamin Brafman, and John Jay College professor, Delores Jones-Brown, provided yet another fascinating discussion, this one centering on the moral dimensions of revenge. Professor Jones-Brown pointed out that we should not fixate too much on the deep south aspects of the film. To her mind, this kind of circumstance–a black man faced with an unsympathetic jury– could easily have taken place in the north. Brafman pointed out that when he successfully represented one of the buy cheap cialis online Italian defendants in the Bensonhurst case in the 1980s, he faced this exact same problem–a jury predisposed to convict a group of Italian teenagers who murdered a young black man who paid the ultimate price of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Brafman said that he felt that “A Time to Kill” was the best


Loss, Apology and Civility: The Problem of A Civil Action

“How can you even begin to compare what you’ve lost to what we’ve lost?” The plaintiff families in A Civil Action have experienced a loss for which there is no remedy, legal or otherwise: the loss of a child. When true healing is impossible, though, people still need to at least try to find something to diminish their grief. The Woburn families turned to Jan Schlictmann and through him the legal system, seeking an apology, hoping for an explanation of why they underwent their horrible ordeal. At the start of the fim, Schlictmann speaks the language of money, supposedly the tongue of the civil courts—“a dead child is worth the least of all.” Clearly, this sentiment is in fairly direct opposition to the emotional truth that nothing is more devastating than the loss of one’s child. The court is no place to find emotional healing at the beginning of A


"The Accused" and its lingering questions

“The Accused” inspired yet another round of interesting conversations between our esteemed guests and the attending audience on the third night of our Film Festival. The main point seemed to be about the way in which victims in the criminal justice system are unrepresented and so often unheard as they make their way through the cold, maze-like machinery of justice. The indignity and disrespect of the plea bargain process, especially in cases involving violent sexual crimes, results in victims feeling dismissed and their pain trivialized. The fact is: A rape is quite different from reckless endangerment, and the legal system’s impulse to imprison offenders for crimes they didn’t do in order to assure that they will not escape imprisonment altogether–even at the expense of truth, even at the expense of giving victims their day in court to tell their stories of pain and victimization–is at the center of this film


Gaines and Friedman—Two Nice Guys Who Once Played Angry Men

Last night’s screening of “12 Angry Men,” followed by the post-screening conversation with Broadway Tony-nominated actors Boyd Gaines and Peter Friedman, led to many insights about the film and the legal system. Boyd spoke quite eloquently about how the Broadway production coincided with the most recent presidential election, and how the film, and the Broadway play, is really about doubt–reasonable doubt and otherwise, and why having doubt is not such a bad thing. After all, juror number 8′s doubt over the guilt of the accused is what drives the film forward, and without that doubt, the accused would have been found guilty and ultimately executed. Yet, the last presidential election seemed to focus on how important it is to always be resolute, firm, and unwavering. The film, and the play, reminds us that reasonable doubt provides a check against impulsive decision-making, magnified by the presumption of guilt that comes from


Christopher Buckley at the Fordham Law Film Festival

As expected, Chris Buckley was smart, witty, and charming as our first post-screening guest at the inaugural Fordham Law Film Festival. He appeared in conversation following the screening of “Thank You for Smoking,” the film based on his novel of the same name. Chris said a number of online payday loan interesting things. First, he received the idea for the novel by watching a smooth and silky female lobbyist for the buy cialis tobacco company appear on a television news program. He sought her out and discovered that she smoked as gracefully as she looked on television, but that she was no libertarian idealogue; she simply was paying her mortgage by representing the tobacco industry zealously and faithfully. Second, Chris thought that the film was fairly faithful to his novel and captured many of the same themes, although the father-son relationship was heightened in the film, and enabled the film


To Do: Fordham Law Film Festival Starts Friday

This Friday, October 20, at 7:30 PM the First Annual Fordham Law Film Festival kicks off with a screening of Thank You For Smoking at Fordham Law’s McNally Amphitheatre. To order tickets and obtain more information, direct your browser to the Festival website by clicking here! Outside coverage of our Festival: Timessquare.com: Link This Week in New York: Link Independentfilm.com: Link The Reeler: Link


Film Adaptations of Novels

I wonder whether Christopher Buckley likes the film version of his novel, THANK YOU FOR SMOKING even though, as a film, it invariably leaves out so much of the bite and plot of his wonderfully satiric story. Does he think this adaptation is faithful to the book? This raises the question that all lovers of fiction face whenever one of their favorite books is adapted into a film: Is the cialis cheap book better, and if so, should we just accept the fact that a film is simply going to tell the story of the novel in a different way–more visual, less nuanced, and more dependent on the directed eye of the filmmaker than on the freestyle wanderings of the imagination. This same question applies comprar cialis to some of the other films in the Festival–specifically, “A Time to Kill,” “A Civil Action,” and “In the Bedroom.” Link: A related