Please let us know you’re coming. Register here.
Location: Fordham Law School, 140 West 62nd Street, Room 430 B/C between 8th and 9th Avenues, New York, New York @ 8:00 p.m.
Cost: Free, Open to Public
Seating for this
special event is limited.
The HBO Theater was
seated to capacity, which required a separate room for another several dozen of our guests. The opening night film, Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later, offered a tremendous opportunity for a serious discussion about the way in which legal system desegregated American schools, but, in doing so, perhaps did not alleviate and improve the deep divisions in opportunity and achievement that still divide the races.
Filmmakers Craig and Brent Renaud talked about their reasons for making the film, the way it presented a homecoming for them as Little Roc natives, a terrain they well understood. Little Rock Central today is considered one of the best high schools in America, with many students ultimately attending Ivy League colleges and performing well on Advanced Placement tests. The problem is that these students are overwhelmingly white, and many come from privileged backgrounds who attend Little Rock Central out of district, mainly to take advantage of the school’s excellence and Advanced Placement classes.
The majority of the students who live near the high school are
African-American, and the film starkly shows how disparate their experience is, not just as remedial students, but also as teenagers living in poverty and fatherless homes, and dealing with fatherless homes. Despite the promise of integration, it is a school still very much segregated. The boundary that African-Americans can’t cross now in Little Rock Central is not access to the school, but a different but equally pernicious line that divides children by class, economic empowerment, and access to the Advance Placement classes, which ultimately once again comes down to a division between black and white.
Fordham professors Maria Marcus and Shelia Foster were invaluable as they provided both historical and legal context to the discussion, reminding the audience of what American schools looked like in the deep south in the 1950s before the Civil Rights era, and, as Professor Foster pointed out, the way in which the past fifty years has not brought about the necessary changes and improvements that everyone had hoped, but yet, despite one of the themes raised in the film, most people do not think that separate but equal is the answer.
The Fordham Law Film Festival gets underway this week with a number of fabulous films.
We open with a documentary about school integration in Little Rock, Arkansas fifty years ago and the way in which the same high school has progressed, or regressed, in its present student body racial makeup and overall achievement and white and African-American students.
On Saturday, we learn about Shakespeare’s Shylock from “The Merchant of Venice,” and what was really behind his demand of a “pound of flesh.” Why would a money lender want human flesh as satisfaction of a debt if he was offered triple damages
if he would simply accept the money and drop his lawsuit?
On Sunday, Alan Dershowitz discusss the moral comprises of a defense attorney who may have actually defended a guilty man, in “Reversal of Fortune,” based on Dershowitz’s own book that detailed his experience in this actual case.
Everyone’s favorite lawyer and father,
Atticus Finch, is screened at Fordham on Tuesday night when we show “To Kill a Mockingbird,” featuring the daughter of the film’s star, Gregory Peck. Cecilia Peck will be joined by film critic Stuart Klawans and federal judge John Keenan.
On Wednesday radical lawyer Ron Kuby and Vanity Fair writer David Margolick discuss the legal thriller, “True Believer,” and root for a lawyer who chooses to take on a lost cause because, well . . . he’s a true believer.
Thursday the Festival comes to a close with “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” as New York Times legal affairs correspondent, Adam Liptak, and Norman Siegel, the former director of the New York Civil Liberties Union discuss how the First Amendment is invoked to defend even the most obscene among us.
L.A. Law forever changed the landscape of dramatic television. Indeed, without L.A. Law many of its successors, such as Law & Order and Boston Legal would never have
made it to network television. Critically-acclaimed with multiple Emmy and Golden Globe awards, it was a time piece of the 1980′s, a show that featured a glamorous law firm centered in the most glitzy of American cities, and yet the cases that the lawyers undertook were profoundly human and deeply moral. Two of the most beloved characters on the show were litigator Ann
Kelsey, played by Jill Eikenberry, and tax attorney Stuart Markowitz, played by Michael Tucker, a married couple both on L.A. Law and in real life, as well. Come hear them talk about this groundbreaking dramatic television series and the way that it influenced how lawyers are depicted and regarded today.