More on Films, Intelligence Studies, and International Law
Kent’s Imperative has a follow-up to their previous post on the film Twelve Angry Men and its uses in teaching intelligence (as oppsed to legal) analysis.
The new post considers which films do– and do not–provide good discussion examples for students of intelligence. I was dissappointed that the film versions of le Carre were disposed of as quickly as the James Bond movies. (Oh come on, even Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy?) And I was surprised that The Kingdom got the equivalent of two (OK, maybe only one) thumbs up.
This of course, reminds me how rarely international law is accurately portrayed in film. See, for example, Kevin’s incisive legal anaylsis of.. cough…. cough… Rush Hour 3. Or Kevin’s and my posts on Battlestar Galactica (or was that interstellar law?). The West Wing also had a couple of long discussions about the role of international law in policymaking in episodes dealing with the assassination of a foreign leader who supported terrorism. (If I remember correctly, I thought they basically treated internationl law as “morality.” How very Bentham of President Bartlett.)
So, international law does crop up a fair amount in popular films. Unfortunately it is often handled in a manner that shows little understanding of the field–usually reducing it to little more than moral platitudes, sometimes empowering it into a strict supranational law enforced by some folks in “the World Court”.
For an ongoing discussion of this topic that looks at a broad variety of films, NYU’s Center for International Law and Justice has the International Law and Films Blog. I think it is great resource for educators.
This has gotten me thinking about international law in novels, but I’ll leave that for another post. I invite readers to share any suggestions about movies or television shows they think do a particulalry good or a particularly bad job in portraying some international law-related theme. I’ve got dibs on Sesame Street…