Trial Films on Trial05.01.19 — Professor Jessica Silbey’s newest book, Trial Films on Trial (University of Alabama Press, 2019), includes a collection of wide-ranging critical essays that examine how the judicial system is represented in film. Despite the fact that the medium of film is one of the most pervasive means by which most people come to know the justice system, these trial films are rarely analyzed and critiqued for their development of legal concepts and categories. Silbey and co-editors Austin Sarat and Martha Umphrey provide an introduction, situating the chapters in terms of their point of departure: Carol Clover's seminal essay, “Law and the Order of Popular Culture.” The next six chapters cover a variety of topics, such as how and why film audiences adopt the role of the jury, the function of disorder in the courtroom, melodrama and “Birth of a Nation,” and photographic evidence in contemporary film. 

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