DSK: Case Dismissed

By Erica Zaragoza Castigated by the news media only a few short weeks ago, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is now a free man. The DSK sexual assault case, that confined him to New York City since May and stayed in the news for months, was dismissed earlier this week. As a result of the alleged victim’s deceit, the prosecution’s case against DSK fell apart. Criminal charges were dismissed from the New York State Supreme Court due to an inability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the assault actually occurred. On a related note, DSK’s defense attorney, Ben Brafman, was a guest at the first Forum Film Festival. Check out his talk here.


Benton, Corman and Felder at the Forum

By Erica Zaragoza Robert Benton wrote the screenplay for Kramer vs. Kramer, which was adapted from Avery Corman’s novel of the same name. Benton also directed the feature. The novel, written in 1977, changed public perception on matters regarding child custody and divorce. Subsequently, in 1979, the movie reached a larger audience, creating even more controversy. Making over $100 million at the box office, Robert Benton’s film struck a chord. Phenomenally cast, Kramer vs. Kramer received 5 Academy Awards: Best Actor, Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Director – a true testament to the overall quality of the film. Raoul Felder, a notorious divorce attorney and the author of Bare Knuckle Negotiation, has said that no movie characterized the process of bitter family court and divorce proceedings quite as accurately as Kramer vs. Kramer. Such praise from a man who knows the ins-and-outs of divorce court


Bean, Gross and Goldhagen on "M"

By Ben Falk Henry Bean and Larry Gross know what it takes to make a good movie. They’ve made a few of them, including The Believer, We Don’t Live Here Any More and 48 Hrs. Sarah Goldhagen knows what we, as a culture, think. She is a critic for The New Republic and an author. Together, the three of them will be concentrating their significant intellectual firepower on Fritz Lang’s masterpiece, “M,” at the Forum on Law, Culture and Society’s film festival on October 20. While this is an old film, it is a classic. With these three discussing its importance as a film and what it says about how we view crime, it promises to be an exciting evening.


Thane Rosenbaum Quoted in the NY Times

Forum Director Thane Rosenbaum was quoted in The New York Times yesterday in a piece on Lowell Milken’s $10 million donation to U.C.L.A. Law. Thane argues that law schools should be wary of accepting donations from those with questionable pasts. He comments that public universities taking donations from those who had run-ins with the law in order to finance academic programs is “a kind of ‘academic cynicism’.” Milken’s millions, no matter what he’s doing with it, is just one example of Wall Street excess, for more click here and here.


Kramer vs. Kramer; Father vs. Mother

By Erica Zaragoza You could be daddy’s little girl, a momma’s boy, your mother’s daughter, or your father’s son. Everyone has heard these characterizations. However until recently, in the eyes of the court, mothers were always favored in custody battles, unless of course, there is evidence of gross negligence. Kramer vs. Kramer, starring Meryl Strep as Joanna Kramer, Dustin Hoffman as Ted Kramer, and Justin Henry as their son Billy, is the story of a mother leaving her family behind to find herself. In the wake of her departure, a father and son, seemingly estranged, are left to build a rapport of trust, which subsequently turns into an intimate, loving relationship. Following Joanna’s parenting hiatus, she returns to claim custody of Billy. A bitter court battle ensues. Critically acclaimed, Kramer vs. Kramer challenged the generally held notion that a child is better cared for by its mother, regardless of who


The Death of Big Ideas

Neal Gabler, a guest at last year’s Forum Film Festival, recently wrote an interesting essay for The New York Times chronicling the death of big ideas. Give it a look and tell us what you think in our “comments” section.


A Prosecutor And A Journalist

By Ben Falk Both Preet Bhara and Samuel G. Freedman are looking for something. Mr. Bhara wants justice and Mr. Freedman wants the truth. Both have a professional duty to find what they’re looking for. And both, if they fail to conduct their search ethically, can hurt people. Bhara is the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Samuel Freedman is a journalist. Each has earned a reputation for doing their jobs very well. Bhara has earned plaudits (and more than a few critics) for his crackdown on insider trading and financial crimes. Freedman is an author, columnist and professor. Currently, he writes the “On Religion” column for The New York Times and is a professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism. His work, Small Victories, was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1990; in 1991 his Jew vs. Jew won the National Jewish


Andrew Ross Sorkin and Too Big To Fail

By Erica Zaragoza The financial crisis created a special need for those who understand the intricacies of the market and basis for the collapse. New York Times Bestselling author Andrew Ross Sorkin is one of those people.  As an acclaimed financial reporter, Sorkin was at the forefront of exposing corruption in the financial system. Sorkin, an American author and journalist, is best known for his reporting on the financial sector. Well-versed in the dealings of Wall Street, Sorkin is co-host of CNBC’s Squawk Box, editor and founder of DealBook, a New York Times columnist, and author. Sorkin’s coverage of the controversial Wall Street bail out culminated in his first book: Too Big to Fail: How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System – and Themselves. Too Big to Fail is an in-depth account of the events that precipitated the stock market crash and the reactions that immediately


Clyde Haberman, "Daniel," and the Rosenbergs

By Ben Falk Clyde Haberman is a journalist. He seeks the truth. As a longtime reporter for The New York Post and The New York Times he has covered the Attica prison riots, served as a foreign correspondent in Tokyo, Jerusalem, and Rome, reported on the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, and the first Gulf War. This experience seeking and then explaining events cloaked in mystery, intrigue, and possibly, deception, makes him an ideal person to answer the question: did the Rosenbergs really do it? Did they spy for the Soviets? Does the movie “Daniel” accurately capture the sentiments of the time and the evidence for or against Julius and Ethel Rosenberg’s innocence or guilt? Now, it is unlikely he has a definitive answer, as the only people that do are either dead or forced to remain silent due to any number of confidentiality laws. However, he can explain


Casey Anthony vs. Society

By Chloe Sarnoff Homespun homilies such as “whatever comes around goes around,” or “don’t worry, things have a way of working themselves out,” often come across as meaningless or trite. Sometime, however, what sounded like a banality can end up ringing very true. Several weeks ago, Casey Anthony was acquitted of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.  Most people believed that she was guilty and were surprised by the verdict.  Very likely Ms. Anthony was surprised, too. But to those furious members of the public who watched as a dangerous and negligent mother got away with murder (or at the very least manslaughter), we can all take at least small comfort in saying, “don’t worry, things will work themselves out.” The justice system may have found Casey Anthony not guilty of pre-meditated murder, but Ms. Anthony has yet to receive the full force and effect of society’s verdict.  She is now