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Goldsmiths - University of London

Film that 'brings human rights to life'

Nash, Kate. 2018. Film that 'brings human rights to life'. Public Culture, 30(3), pp. 393-412. ISSN 0899-2363 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In this article I explore what feature-length films of the kind that are shown in human rights film festivals contribute to human rights culture. Analysing films that feature victims (including, in some detail, Sonita) and perpetrators (notably The Act of Killing), I argue that a viewer is called on to identify with the protagonist who drives forward a narrative of self-responsibilisation – regardless of any commitment s/he may make then to either organised political action or to ethical deconstruction of a film’s narrative. It is principally through work on the self to become a subject of human rights that human rights films are contributing to human rights culture – in advance of a global community of citizens and institutions that might regularly and routinely secure human rights for all.

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cultural politics, humanitarian gaze, individualization, subjectivity

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30 June 2017Accepted
1 September 2018Published Online

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Date Deposited:

04 Jul 2017 16:24

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:28

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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