As the Belfast Film Festival gets underway, we turn our attention to human rights at the movies.
No stranger to presenting human rights stories on the silver screen, it’s great to see that the annual Belfast film-fest has a strong ‘Film and the Law’ strand for 2012.
The Festival has pulled off a neat trick in turning High Court Number One at Belfast’s Royal Courts of Justice into a cinema for four special screenings, including the classic courtroom drama, To Kill a Mockingbird, starring Gregory Peck as local lawyer Atticus Finch (Wednesday 6th June).
The film / event at the Law Courts which most fascinates me (but which I will have to miss) is a story of imperfect justice, Scenes from a Judgment at Nuremberg:
Join BBC Broadcaster and movie legal eagle William Crawley as he revisits one of the 20th century’s most compelling courtroom dramas in the unique setting of High Court Number One. Judgment At Nuremberg (1961) is a blistering account of the political and moral issues that arise when four German judges are sent to trial in post war Germany.
Were these four facilitators of Nazi rule accountable for the horrors that unfolded? Filmed in the Bavarian city itself, Judgment at Nuremberg features an all-star cast, which includes Spencer Tracey, Marlene Dietrich, Montgomery Clift, Judy Garland and the Oscar winning Maximilian Schell. With the help of expert witnesses William will re-open the extraordinary case of ‘judging the judges’.
Crude, being shown on June 10th at the Beanbag Cinema (23 Donegall Street), comes from acclaimed filmmaker Joe Berlinger, and looks really strong.
It tells the “epic story of one of the largest and most controversial environmental lawsuits on the planet. The inside story of the infamous ‘Amazon Chernobyl’ case.”
It is a “real-life high stakes legal drama, set against a backdrop of the environmental movement, global politics, celebrity activism, human rights advocacy, the media, multinational corporate power, and rapidly-disappearing indigenous cultures.”
For me, the story has tremedous echoes of the work which Amnesty is doing right now in Nigeria in supporting local communties to stand up for their rights in the face of environmental damage and human rights violations wrought by the activities of Shell in extracting oil in the Niger Delta region.
Anyway,whatever you go to see at this year’s Festival, enjoy!
Meanwhile, here’s the trailer for Crude: