Forum Film Festival Night 7: The FOLCS Award Night

By Robert Sanchez All of the films selected for the Short Film Competition were excellent.  Three stood out in my mind.  Transgression offered us the story of Norma, a transgendered woman, who told an incredible, heart-wrenching story of her time in the American immigration system.  As a transgendered individual, she was isolated from the general population, placed in solitary confinement “for her own safety,” and even denied medical care.  Nora’s story was carefully crafted, moving, and insightful.  And it hammered home the point that we give civil detainees fewer rights than criminals. My Piece of Happiness won the day with its story of a man’s journey with his young daughter.  The story was bittersweet, a day of ponies, beaches, and play overlaid with the frantic, concerned mother’s voicemails and reminders of the custody agreement.  This gem was well deserving of the three awards it walked away with – People’s Choice,


The Nanny Murders and Spiritual Death

By Athena Savoglou If you live or work anywhere in Manhattan, especially on or near the Upper West Side, you have heard the unspeakable tragedies that occurred this past week.  On Columbus Avenue and 75th Street, two small children, Leo and Lucia Krim, ages two and six, were viciously murdered by their nanny.  The children’s mother came home from work on Thursday to find her two babies dead on the bathroom floor, along with the nanny who was in the process of trying to take her own life as well.  The father of the family, who is an executive at CNBC, was out of state and got a flight back to New York when he heard what happened to his children. The mother of the two children left their lives in the hands of a trusted close friend while she went to work.  That morning, she had no doubt in


Forum Film Festival Night 6: Duck Soup

By Claudia D. Last night, the FOLCS film festival presented a screening of the 1933 Marx Brothers’ film Duck Soup, the iconic political farce that provides audiences with a satiric take on the absurdities of politics and war.  The nation of Freedonia has a new leader, Rufus T. Firefly, appointed by the wealthy widow Mrs. Teasdale as a condition for her continued financial support.  The ambassador of the nation of Sylvania aspires to take over Freedonia and employs spies to get any possible dirt on Firefly while trying to woo Mrs. Teasdale. Eventually, the two nations go to war and the anarchic battle results in Sylvania’s surrender as the Marx Brothers bombard him with fruit. During his introduction of the film, the forum’s director Thane Rosenbaum noted that this evening was about the communal movie-watching experience audiences seldom get anymore, and the audience did in fact come together in roaring


Forum Film Festival Night 5: CLOCKERS

By Max Herman The film festival continued yesterday evening with a showing of the 1995 gangster film Clockers, directed by Spike Lee and written by Richard Price. Following the film, the audience was treated to a discussion between Richard Price and Rich Cohen, writer of several gangster-focused books including Tough Jews. The discussion was moderated by forum director Thane Rosenbaum. One of the first points of discussion was how the writer becomes familiar with an alien subculture, in this case the mid-90s Brooklyn projects. Mr. Price analogized his process to “look[ing] for rhythm and music in dialogue.” That it isn’t so much an active effort to write in that style, but rather it is that he immerses himself into the nuances of the subculture, much like improv or a method actor. Interestingly, the first scene of the film centers on the central character and his cohorts participating in a animated


Forum Film Festival Night 4: Good Night, And Good Luck

By Fionna Sciame It was another great evening at the Festival last night.  The film was excellent and the guests engaging. The film, Good Night, And Good Luck, starring David Strathairn portrays an epic moment in journalistic history.  The film captures an authentic look at journalist Edward R. Murrow’s heroic exposure of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s extremist anti-Communist crusade.  This period of time, often referred to as the Red Scare, created a nationwide fear of radical leftists.  Everyone was a suspect and civil liberties no longer applied.  It was an aggressive political climate, where innocent United States citizens were ostracized by society, imprisoned without due process, and driven to suicide by fear.  It was a modern day witch-hunt – a time when anyone who dared question the McCarthy policies were instantly deemed a suspect. Murrow and his CBS News “Boys” refused to surrender to the hype. He was a journalist through


Football and Freedom of Speech

By Tova Friedman In the past month there have been several stories of national interest centering on issues of free speech. One incident that received much media attention arose following the NFL Baltimore Ravens player, Brendon Ayanbadejo’s words of support for a Maryland ballot initiative that would legalize gay marriage. In response, Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. (also a minister) wrote a letter to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, that he found it “inconceivable that one of [his] players . . . would endorse same-sex marriage,” noting that “many of [his] fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment, and excitement.” What I found most interesting is that he also urged Bisciotti to “inhibit such expressions from your employee.”             Burns’ comments not only reveal a great personal bigotry, but they also a general trend


Forum Film Festival Night 3: The Truce

By Danique Lammerts van Bueren Francesco Rosi’s The Truce is based on Primo Levi’s second book ‘La Tregua’, in the United States know as ‘The Reawakening.’ The film starts where most movies about the Holocaust stop, at the liberation of the camps. It describes Primo Levi’s journey trying to find his way back to Turin (Italy) after being liberated from Auschwitz by the Russians. But it is not just a movie about the practical difficulties of finding a way back home in a destroyed Europe. It shows the journey of a man ‘gradually returning to life’, the journey of a man’s reawakening. After having survived the horrors of Auschwitz you see Primo Levi, played by John Turturro, rediscovering the joy of music, the beauty of nature and his ability to laugh. But you also see a man who wants to tell his story to people but they refuse to listen. A


Forum Film Festival Night 2: The House I Live In

By James McEvoy “If I don’t make a dent in this world, then all I am is a merchant of despair,” noted Eugene Jarecki, writer and director of the documentary “The House I Live In.”  The documentary, which aired last night at the Forum on Law, Culture & Society Forum Film Festival, explores the failures of America’s war on drugs through discussions with inmates, prison guards, journalists, and professors.  It also examines the war through Jarecki’s personal connections, namely his “second mother”, Nanny Jetter, who lost her son to AIDS brought on through heroin abuse. As such, David Denby, film critic for the New Yorker, remarked during the post-screening discussion that Jarecki’s ability to provide a social analysis ,while showing just how deeply the war on drugs has impacted families, really held the documentary together.  Further, Fordham Law Professor Deborah Denno praised Jarecki’s ability to handle such a complex subject,


Opening Night: Fordham Law Forum Film Festival 2012

By Katie Klamann Fordham Law’s Forum Film Festival opened on Friday night with the first episode of the HBO miniseries, John Adams. The film took us through the beginning of John Adams’ involvement with the revolutionary movement. It depicted Adams as a struggling lawyer who is given the opportunity to defend the British officers involved in the Boston Massacre. With Atticus Finch-like dedication to the law, Adams proves they acted in self-defense and they are acquitted. Afterward, Adams is reluctant to join the revolutionary cause until the Crown issues the Coercive Acts. The episode concludes, four years after it began, with Adams riding out of Boston on his way to represent Massachusetts as a delegate to the Continental Congress. Just as interesting as the film itself, was the discussion after the screening.  Second Circuit Judge (and Fordham Law alum) Denny Chin and screenwriter of John Adams, Kirk Ellis, joined the


Is There Such a Thing As Too Sweet?

By Hannah F. Since Mayor Bloomberg has taken office, he has imposed new restrictions aimed at making New Yorkers healthier.  This includes a smoking ban in all restaurants, stores, parks, and beaches, restrictions on vending machines in schools, and the banning of trans-fats at all restaurants.  The latest target of his health crusade is the size of large sugary beverages in New York City.  New York City’s Board of Health passed a rule banning super-sized sugary drinks, defined as over 16-ounces.  The ban will not only affect New York City restaurants, but also concession stands, fast-food chains, office cafeterias, theaters, and delis.  However, 16-ounce and larger sugary beverages will still be sold in New York City’s supermarkets and convenience stores. Proponents of the ban argue that as New Yorkers, and a larger American society, we are suffering from an epidemic of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.  Mayor Bloomberg supporters might