Agora 11: International Law and Film: The Power of Pictures

This agora proposes a discussion on international law as portrayed in films. What can we learn from the popular representation of our discipline in fiction and documentary movies dealing with issues of general international law or its specific fields? A major area of conversation may, of course, be criminal international law, an area with such classics as ‘Judgment at Nuremberg’ (1961). However, more recent movies could considerably expand the discussion, e.g. ‘Argo’ (2012) on the Iran hostage crisis, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ (2012) on the manhunt for Osama Bin Laden, or ‘The Whistleblower’ (2010) on the responsibility of the UN for covering up a sex scandal in post-war Bosnia. Moreover, documentary films may also lead us to discuss the capacity of films to show a more accurate description of international law and its institutions or even to transform it. Examples include ‘Granito: How to Nail a Dictator’ (2011) on the Mayan genocide or ‘U.N. Me’ (2009) drawing an obscure picture of the organization. The discussion may also include specific advocacy projects on films and human rights, e.g. dealing with the abolition of the death penalty.


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