East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

10th District Court: Moments of Trials: If Judge Judy were human [SFIFF '05 movie note]

Raymond Depardon's courtroom doc features a higher proportion of nonwhites than any French film I recall. This is simply because African and Middle Eastern immigrants were most willing to appear on camera, as if appearing in a movie would ensure their right to stay in the country - even if that were the opposite of what their sentences pronounced. Depardon is a friend of the presiding judge, the chatty, humane, firm Michèle Bernard-Requin. But though he draws a couple of laughs at the defendants' expense, mostly he's on their side, so that even when we see Bernard-Requin is legally justified, the law still seems harsh. What's most shocking is how inept the defense attorneys seem to be, leaving doubt over whether justice has been done.


Depardon on why there's so much direct conversation between Bernard-Requin and the defendants: "She loves to talk."


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