Introduction
conceptual framework
Law and Film: Methodological Perspectives
There are three fundamental premises to my analytical approach: that some
films’ modes of social operation parallel those of the law and legal system,
that some films enact viewer-engaging judgment, and that some films elicit
popular jurisprudence. I suggest that study of films’ performance of these
functions is study of law and film. In reference to these three basic premises,
law-and-film studies may be distinguished on the basis of their primary
focus, and labeled accordingly as examining ‘‘film paralleling law,’’ ‘‘film as
judgment,’’ and/or ‘‘film as jurisprudence.’’ Each of these methodological
perspectives may require the employment of various methodological tools,
such as textual analysis (discussing, for example, the film’s implied reader
and reader response); focus on the film’s composition of plot or characters;
reading the film in the context of a historical survey of developments in film,
society, or law; or examining or highlighting cinematic techniques (such as
shots) and cinematic choices (such as casting).
Some films’ interactions with law and the legal system are, of course,
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