Law in High Heels: Performativity, Alterity, and Aesthetics
20 Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal 2 (2011)
34 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2012 Last revised: 20 Jun 2012
Date Written: June 19, 2012
Pedro Almodovar's High Heels (the original Spanish title, Tacones Lejanos, literally means 'distant heels') is a 1991 postmodern film that celebrates performance, fluidity, and fragmentation as ways of being in and understanding the world. In a generic combination of melodrama, comedy, musical, and film noir, High Heels tells the story of a turbulent mother daughter relationship, and a judge's criminal investigation following the murder of the daughter's husband (who also happens to be the mother's former lover). In recent years, Almodovar's film has received the attention of Orit Kamir, a law-and-film feminist scholar who opens up a refreshing line of inquiry. Kamir uses the film as a powerful site and as a means to explore alternative feminist images of law, judgment, and justice. In this Article, I provide new insights into Kamir's feminist jurisprudential reading of the film by placing it within the framework of postmodern jurisprudence, performativity, and queer aesthetics. My aim is to reconceptualize law through an ethics of alterity, and to further theoretical developments in postmodern accounts of judgment, ethics, and justice.
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