Zero Dark Thirty: International Law, Torture and Representation
EUROPEAN SOCIETY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, 10th Anniversary Conference, Vienna, 4-6 September 2014, Conference Paper No. 12/2014
14 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2014 Last revised: 4 Mar 2015
Date Written: September 4, 2014
This paper explores the relationship between film and international law against a historical and theoretical backdrop, foreshadowing the further development of international legal theory regarding the image and also engaging with relevant film criticism. We examine one recent feature film, Zero Dark Thirty, directed by Kathryn Bigelow and released in December 2012. The film focuses on a fictionalised account of the covert US operation to capture and kill Osama bin Laden. The paper uses the film and its critical reception as a means to begin to consider related questions of genre, torture, gender, targeted killing and the dangers presented by their representation in a Hollywood film.
Keywords: international law; law and film; Zero Dark Thirty; legal theory; law and image; film criticism; Osama bin Laden; torture; targeted killing; representation
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