Films about justice and trials, there’s a lot of them! Moreover, some are so well done that one would almost consider studying law (before remembering the face of the civil code, of course). On the other hand, what is rarer are the short and feature films that have squarely changed justice in real life. Fictions that denounce, or just atrocious filming locations that denigrate all human rights. In any case, it did shake things up a bit. Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes it stinks of uc. But either way, it’s good to know.
1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and the British Labor Code
The British labor code has been adjusted for the filming of the first film in the saga. Initially, children under 9 could not shoot more than four hours a day. Now they can work 5 hours a day, with a break in the middle.
2. The hobbit, and the New Zealand labor code
Well, from one fantastic universe to another, we influence the labor code! Within the framework of The Hobbit, it is the New Zealand texts which are modified. After the success of The Lord of the Rings, filming locations in New Zealand have become very touristic places. When the idea of filming the Hobbit elsewhere, because of conflicts with the unions of the country, is emitted, New Zealand does not hesitate to modify its law so that the island is chosen again. From 2010, the actors are then considered as subcontractors and no longer as employees. This implies that they do not have the right to unionize, to strike, to sick pay and to holidays. NICE. Once the change was enacted, Warner Bros engaged production on the island. Since then, the changes made have remained.
3. JFK, and the President’s Assassination Investigation
In 1991, the political thriller was released on the big screen. He then revives America’s interest in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, one of the greatest conspiracy crimes in US history. Faced with the success of the film, Congress, under George HW Bush, enacts a new law on the collection of the former president’s assassination records. A law not without consequence since it reopened the government investigation into the assassination of November 22, 1963.
4. A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, and Pakistan’s Honor Killing Law
This time, it is a short film, directed by Pakistani Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and winner of the Oscars in 2015. The production denounces the tradition of honor killings in her country. There, more than a thousand women are killed each year, because their families consider that they have dishonored them. This is called “honour killings”. After the film aired, the Pakistani Prime Minister (Nawaz Sharif) pledged to change the law on these crimes. In 2016, parliament passed the bill denying pardon to anyone committing such horrors.
5. The Snake Pit, and the treatment of patients in psychiatric hospitals
“The Snake Pit” (1948), translate “The snake pit”, is an adaptation of the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, written by Mary Jane Ward. She testifies to these horrible experiences as a schizophrenic patient in a psychiatric hospital, returning in particular to techniques such as hot baths or electroshock therapy. Awful. The production raised public awareness of the realities of treating mental illness. As a result, 26 US states enacted legislation, reforming the living conditions and treatment of patients to make them better.
6. Alfie, and the UK abortion law
Alfie is a British romantic comedy which was born in 1966. If the majority of the film makes you smile, a very precise scene, it freezes the blood. We see a young woman (Vivien Merchant), getting pregnant by a friend of her husband and deciding to have an abortion. The man in question (Alfie) then organizes an illegal abortion in his apartment, orchestrated by a seedy doctor. This scene contributed to a first evolution in the United Kingdom: the establishment of the law of 1967 on abortion, still considered illegal at that time. From there, “certain abortions are considered legal, depending on specific circumstances”. We weren’t yet at the maximum rights, but it was a first step. A film to rebroadcast without hesitation on American channels at the moment.
7. The Charge of the Light Brigade and Jesse James, the Animal Welfare Act
SENSITIVE SOULS, STOP READING HERE. “No animals were harmed or harmed during the production of this film”: a phrase with which we are accustomed today, but this was not always the case. In 1936, Michael Curtiz directed “The Charge of the Light Brigade”. For a battle scene, the director wires 125 horsepower. 25 of them died, either killed on the spot or euthanized due to serious injuries. This first horror caught the attention of Congress. In 1939, during the filming of Jesse James, two other hairs died, thrown blindfolded from the top of a cliff. I want to cry, these guys are monsters. Following these atrocities, new rules were enforced by the Humane Society of America. From there, film sets involving animals had to be supervised by a representative of the organization. Sad to have to come to this so that animals don’t get killed for a fucking movie.
8. Noah’s Ark, and safety rules for actors and extras
Noah’s Ark was released in 1928. And guess who the director is? Yes, Michael Curtiz, once again! Whoever had no problem killing horses, also had no problem killing humans. Yes yes. During the filming of the flood scene, three people drowned. There were also a dozen serious injuries including a leg amputation. Since justice is super well done: the guy has not assumed any consequences of all these horrors and negligence. Top. On the other hand, and very fortunately, it has at least made it possible to change the legislation. Since then, safety rules protecting actors, extras and stuntmen have been drafted and implemented.
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