: Law & Culture

Law & Culture

Law and CultureIn our Law & Culture column, you will find original works of fiction, reviews of a wide range of publications — not just conventional legal texts — as well as broader cultural forms such as films, TV shows, CDs, DVDs, art exhibitions and so on. The column links in with the Alternative Law Journal’s focus on law for the disadvantaged, human rights law and law reform.

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Face to Face

Kathy Laster

Face to Face PosterDirected by Michael Rymer; screenplay by Michael Rymer,
based on a play by David Williamson;
starring Vince Colosimo, Luke Ford, Matthew Newton and Sigrid Thornton;
2011; 89 minutes.

This surprise success of the 2011 Melbourne International Film Festival and winner of 32 international prizes may well herald the emergence of a new film sub-genre: ‘The Law– Restorative Justice/ Community Conferencing Drama’. The title is none-too snappy but the genre would extend the ever popular ‘courtroom drama’ repertoire. Both share the dramatic pull of intense stories of human conflict told economically through stereotypes clashing in artificial and confined surroundings.

(2011) 36(4) AltLJ 291

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London River

Bill Swannie

London RiverDirected by Rachid Bouchareb;
written by Rachid Bouchareb and Olivier Lorelle;
starring Brenda Blethyn and Sotigui Kouyate;
2009; 87 mins; available on DVD.

In the aftermath of the 2005 London bombings, Elizabeth Sommers leaves her remote farm to travel to London to look for her daughter Jane, who can’t be contacted by phone. Eventually she finds her daughter’s flat, above a halal butcher shop in London’s predominantly Muslim West End. Although Jane’s Muslim landlord offers her the keys to the flat, Elizabeth couldn’t be more distrusting or suspicious. Aren’t these the people who just detonated bombs on three peak hour trains and a bus?

(2011) 36(4) AltLJ 292

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The Union

Mike Daly

the-union-elton-john-leon-russellElton John & Leon Russell; CD;
Mercury; 2010; $19.99

Forty years ago, Leon Russell and Elton John first met and briefly teamed up for a US tour. But while Elton became a global star, Leon — following his success as part of Joe Cocker’s `Mad Dogs and Englishmen’ tour movie/album — gradually settled for a career as journeyman-producer and session player. Of course, since then, Leon has cemented his place in popular memory with standards like `Delta Lady’, `A Song For You’ and `This Masquerade’.

(2011) 36(4) AltLJ 292

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The Promise

Mike Daly

The Promise, Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen; CD; Columbia;
2010; $19.99

While some songwriters struggle to fill a CD, prolific artists like Bob Dylan or Elvis Costello usually face the dilemma of what to leave out! Likewise, Bruce Springsteen. Back in 1978, after three years of litigation following his breakthrough album `Born To Run’, Springsteen had recorded about 40 songs but only 10 appeared on `Darkness On The Edge Of Town’. Of the rest, 20 re-mastered originals are included on this two-CD set (plus an alternate of `Racing In The Street’).

(2011) 36(4) AltLJ 292

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From Moree to Mabo: The Mary Gaudron Story

Laura Hilly

From Moree to Mabo - The Mary Gaudron Story by Pamela BurtonPamela Burton; UWA Publishing, 2010;
512 pp, $49.95 (paperback with illustrations)

Since Dame Roma Mitchell’s appointment to the Supreme Court of South Australia in 1965, women have slowly but surely claimed their rightful place as part of the Australian judiciary. Since 1987, with the exception of a short period between 2003 and 2005, a woman has sat on our highest court — the High Court of Australia.

The first woman to do so was Mary Gaudron.

Pamela Burton’s engaging biography From Moree to Mabo: The Mary Gaudron Story does more than review a judicial career; it reviews a judicial life. This is fitting, as Burton’s work skillfully highlights, because for Mary Gaudron — like so many other women, both then and now — a strict demarcation between the demands of professional life and personal life did not exist.

(2011) 36(3) AltLJ 214

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