Dr. Mónica López on Law and Cinema

Dear all,

the month of May will be devoted, as you know, to “Law and Performance”. The first three classes will introduce us to the “Law and Cinema” strand!

Course descriptionReservoir_dogs_ver1

These three lectures explore the intersection between law and film, focusing in particular on how law and film relate to and/or influence each other and what different theories and methodologies of law and film may teach us about law and justice. In addition to studying the representation of law and justice in several films, we will explore how these representations shape or modify our legal perceptions.

Films analyzed will include: 12 Angry Men, Dirty Harry, Clockwork Orange, Anatomy of a Murder, The Matrix, Reservoir Dogs, High Heels, War Zone.

The lectures will be divided as follows:

Lecture 1: Introduction to Law and Cinema.

Lecture 2: Law, Violence and Cinema.

Lecture 3: Law, Feminism, and Cinema.

In the first class, we will examine the place of the viewer in the construction of meaning both in law and film. How do films persuade us about different ways of understanding law, justice, and the world? The class will introduce students to the main theoretical and methodological issues on law and film scholarship.

The second class will focus on the relationship between law and violence through cinema. How do we watch graphic images of violence? What kind of affective responses do they produce? What kind of judgements do they invite us to make? What sense of (in)justice do they create? Examples will include Abu Ghraib torture pictures and ISIS videos.

The third class will center on issues of gender. We will question how law and film function within broader societal practices concerning gender and sexuality. We will also analyze stereotypes and assumptions about gender roles, femininity and masculinity in both law and film.


Johnson, Rebecca & Ruth Buchanan, “Getting the Insider’s Story Out: What Popular Film Can Tell Us About Legal Method’s Dirty Secrets,” Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice, vol 20 (2001): 87-110.

Young, Alison, “The Screen of the Crime: Judging the Affect of Cinematic Violence,” Social Legal Studies, vol. 18, no. 1 (March 2009): 5-22.

Mónica López’s Short Bio

Mónica López Lerma works as a post-doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Law of the University of Helsinki. In September, she will be joining the Spanish Department of Reed College (Portland) as a Visiting Assistant Professor, where she will teach courses on film theory and law and violence.

López Lerma received a PhD in Comparative Literature and a Graduate Certificate in Film Studies from the University of Michigan. She is currently writing a monograph entitled “Sensing Justice. Aesthetics, Politics, and Law through Contemporary Spanish Cinema” (Edinburgh) and editing a volume on “Rancière and the Law” (Routledge).  She is co-editor of the journal No Foundations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Law and Justice.

Click HERE to read her personal webpage

EVENT: Cinema and Human Rights at the RomaTre Film Festival (May 5th 2015)!

Dear all,

a very interesting web-doc, which tells the story of the occupation of an abandoned hotel in the area of Tor Sapienza, will open the RomaTre Film Festival at the Theater Palladium on May 5th at 20:30. Entrance is free.

The hotel has become a new home for about 700 people from many different countries who are now experiencing a common life. It is a unique occasion to think about the right to housing as a fundamental right!

RomaTre FILM Festival

You can download the entire pdf HERE: Comunicato stampa Colori Palladium

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/811800538905768/

You can also have a look at the web-doc online: http://www.4stellehotel.it/