Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=892401
 
 

Footnotes (317)



 


 



Filmmaking in the Precinct House and the Genre of Documentary Film


Jessica M. Silbey


Suffolk University Law School


Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, Vol. 29, No. 2, pp. 107-180, 2006

Abstract:     
This Article explores side-by-side two contemporary and related film trends: the recent popular enthusiasm over the previously arty documentary film and the mandatory filming of custodial interrogations and confessions.

The history and criticism of documentary film, indeed contemporary movie-going, understands the documentary genre as political and social advocacy (recent examples are Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11 and Errol Morris's Fog of War). Judges, advocates, and legislatures, however, assume that films of custodial interrogations and confessions reveal a truth and lack a distorting point of view. As this Article explains, the trend at law, although aimed at furthering venerable criminal justice principles, holds a fairly naïve view of film's indexical relationship to the lived world and abjures consideration of the contemporary trend in cinema. Understanding the documentary as truth-revealing is a mistake, a mistake which can frustrate (if not undermine) the criminal justice goals of the legislation.

Whatever may explain the convergence of filmmaking in the precinct house and a penchant for mainstream documentary movie-going, the trends are shaping contemporary expectations about film in contradictory ways. Investigating these trends together exposes competing norms regarding film as a legal tool and as a knowledge producing discourse. It also situates the criminal justice trend in the context of a long history of filmmaking and critical spectatorship. In light of the growing use of film as a policing mechanism, better understanding of film as both an art and a legal tool is in order.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 74

Keywords: film, evidence, popular culture, confession, criminal law, interrogations, legislation

JEL Classification: K14, K41, K40

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: March 28, 2006  

Suggested Citation

Silbey, Jessica M., Filmmaking in the Precinct House and the Genre of Documentary Film. Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, Vol. 29, No. 2, pp. 107-180, 2006. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=892401

Contact Information

Jessica M. Silbey (Contact Author)
Suffolk University Law School ( email )
120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108-4977
United States
617 305 6270 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.suffolk.edu/law/faculty/22481.php?InstructorID=819&Name=Jessica%20Silbey

Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 3,264
Downloads: 154
Download Rank: 107,393
Footnotes:  317

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo3 in 0.578 seconds