Events

11 Angry Men and the Reasonable Man

By Graham Amodeo With the release of a Blu-Ray version of 12 Angry Men, it is worth revisiting this film, which was part of last year‘s Forum Film Festival. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor even said that this film had an incredible influence (click on the link and scroll down to her video) on her legal career. Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men presents an interesting example of the points at which the law and morality diverge. The divergence occurs in what one might think would be an unlikely location: a jury deliberation room. In the film 12 strangers, pressed into public service as jurors, attempt to decide the fate of a young man who is accused of murdering his father. In the process, a legally “correct” result (12 jurors agreeing as to guilt or innocence) nearly results in a moral travesty, until the morally righteous (and nameless, until the


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


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


Tim Robbins

By Erica Zarazoga Timothy Robbins, better known as “Tim” Robbins, is an American actor, screenwriter, director, producer, and musician. Robbins grew up with a show business background, and was exposed to the culture by his mother and father. His mother, Mary Robbins, was an actress, and Gil Robbins, his father, was a singer for “The Highwaymen.” Robbins was born in California, but was raised in New York City.  He graduated from Stuyvesant High School and after graduation, he moved back to California to study drama at UCLA School of Film, where he graduated with honors. With an itch for acting and the background to support it, he began The Actors’ Gang in 1981. The Actors’ Gang was a group of aspiring actors who combined their experiences and opinions (mostly radical political observations) to form an experimental theater group. Robbins is still revered today as a tried and true liberal activist.


"Absence of Malice": Is Democracy Served?

By Ben Falk Sydney Pollack’s wonderful film, “Absence of Malice,” makes a good, if not slightly depressing, point. At the beginning of the film, The Miami Standard’s lawyer explains to Megan Carter (Sally Field), a reporter at the newspaper, that the subject of her article, Paul Newman’s Michael Gallagher, is unable to do the paper “harm.” “We have no knowledge the story is false, therefore we’re absent malice. We’ve been both reasonable and prudent, therefore we’re not negligent. We can say what we like about him; he can’t do us harm. Democracy is served.” Implicit in this monologue is the question: is this right? The answer, while demonstrated by the events that follow, is stated specifically at the film’s end, when Assistant U.S. Attorney General James Wells (Wilford Brimley) explains, “You know and I know that we [the law] can’t tell you [the press] what to print or what not


Farewell to "In the Arena"

By Chloe Sarnoff Recently, CNN announced that Eliot Spitzer‘s show, “In the Arena” will be cancelled and replaced by “Anderson Cooper’s 360,” which will be moved into the 8pm time slot. Spitzer’s show has been around since October of 2010 and was originally entitled “Parker Spitzer,” and was co-hosted by Kathleen Parker.  Parker was fired from the show when ratings proved to be less than desirable and the title was changed to “In the Arena”.  Ratings are also to blame for CNN’s decision to cancel “In the Arena.” Unfortunately, Spitzer’s quick and interesting approach to his show seems to have been unable to appeal to a wide enough audience.  The cancellation of “In the Arena” is a true loss to anyone and everyone who is able to appreciate the smart, thorough and insightful interviews that Spitzer held over the course of the past year.  The Forum, who hosted Spitzer as