Law and Film Events At the AALS Annual Meeting, January 2-5, 2015

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If you are planning to attend the AALS Annual Meeting in January 2015 you may be interested in two law and film AALS Film Committee-sponsored events taking place during the conference. The first, on January 2, at 7:30 p.m. (the first night of the conference), will be a screening of the classic Judgment at Nuremberg, directed by Stanley Kramer, written by Abby Mann, and starring a whole host of great actors, including the very strong female characters Mrs. Bertholt, played by Marlene Dietrich, and Irene Hoffman, played by Judy Garland. The two female characters represent different ways of coming to terms with the events discussed in the film. Mrs. Bertholt is loyal both to her husband and to the narrative maintained by many Germans. She assures Judge Haywood, the head of the international tribunal (played by Spencer Tracy),  that she and others like her “did not know” about the atrocities committed by the Nazis. But she also says, “We must forget if we want to go on living.” For her, and others like her, the way forward must include a kind of amnesia. In contrast, Irene Hoffman  cannot forget. As someone who suffered under the regime, she has finally has the chance to tell her story and to tell it to someone who will believe her. More here about the background of the film from Professor Douglas Linder’s excellent law and film website (page created by Sean Bradley).

To introduce our film, we are honored to have Professor Harold Koh, Sterling Professor of International Law at Yale Law School. Professor Koh served as Legal Adviser for the Department of State from 2009 to 2013, service for which he received the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award. Professor Koh is an expert in the area of national security, international human rights, and foreign relations, areas in which he has written extensively. I will be moderating a discussion afterward of the film for those interested.

On Sunday, January 4th, at 8 p.m. the Committee will sponsor a showing of the 2011 film Hot Coffee, directed by Susan Saladoff. The film recounts the famous lawsuit Stella Liebeck brought against McDonald’s when she accidentally spilled some of its excessively hot beverage on herself. Hot Coffee is not just a movie about the torts regime. It’s also a film about public relations and the rhetoric that lawyers use in telling stories. Dennis Greene, Professor of Law, University of Dayton School of Law, will moderate the discussion about this provocative and interesting film.

Finally, on Monday, January 5th at 2 p.m. AALS will present a very special event, a Cross-Cutting program, due in great part to the efforts of members of the Law and Film Committee. Professor Michael Olivas, former President of AALS, and current Chair of the Committee, will moderate a panel on the topic Anita F. Hill,  Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings, and a Screening of the Film Anita. Speakers include Professors Taunya Lovell Banks of the University of Maryland School of Law, Jessica Silbey, Suffolk University Law School, and special guest Anita Hill, Senior Advisor to the Provost and Professor Social Policy, Law, and Women’s Studies, Brandeis University Heller School for Social Policy and Management. This program also includes a special screening of the film Anita: Speaking Truth To Power (2014).

Professor Hill will also be a special guest at the Section on Minority Groups Luncheon, January 5, 2015, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Hope to see you at one or more of these very exciting events!

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