Cinema of Law: Screenings at the Berkshire Athenaeum

Criminal Justice Review in Film, 2014

There’s a lot more to law than just Law and Order!  The legal system is not all arrests and gavels – it’s a complicated system to navigate, and its intricacies can be fascinating.  The Berkshire Bar Association (BBA)and the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum, along with the Berkshire Law Library, are offering a film series filled with popular films following a law theme.  The four-part series is a mix of both documentary and fiction, both new and old!

Best for older high school and college students interested in criminal justice, the film series brings to light the reality of working in the legal system, whether as a lawyer, judge, or officer.  Students can learn about a branch of government not often examined in-depth, and will be able to enjoy some great cinema at the same time!  The films also help to promote the importance of understanding and engaging with government.

All films are free, and will take place at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield.  Each film comes a legal subject and will be introduced by a member of the BBA. Screenings will be on Tuesday evenings at 6pm, beginning on March 4th and include…

  • Tuesday, March 4:  A Civil Action, starring John Travolta (PG-13, 1998), will be introduced by Attorney Chris Dodig. The families of children who died sue two companies for dumping toxic waste: a tort so expensive to prove, the case could bankrupt their lawyer.
  • Tuesday, March 11: Class Action, starring Gene Hackman (R, 1991), will be introduced by Attorney David W Murphy. Jeb Ward is an attorney who specializes in whistle blower, David vs. Goliath, type cases.
  • Tuesday, March 18: The Other Side of Immigration, a documentary, (2009) will be introduced by Attorney Joseph Best. Based on over 700 interviews in Mexican towns where about half the population has left to work in the United States, The Other Side of Immigration asks why so many Mexicans come to the U.S. and what happens to the families and communities they leave behind.
  • Tuesday, March 25: The Rainmaker, starring Matt Damon (PG-13, 1997) will be introduced by Attorney Buffy Lord. An idealistic young lawyer and his cynical partner take on a powerful law firm representing a corrupt insurance company.

Program us free and open to the public. The Berkshire Athenaeum is located at 1 Wendell Avenue in Pittsfield, and can be reached at 413-499-9480.

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