Exploring film's jurisprudence in Sean Baker's films




Goud, Brittany R.

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In this thesis I am working at the intersection of law and film. I approach this work from the perspective of a practicing lawyer, former social worker, and through my own lived experiences to tease out and examine interactions with structural oppression. I am particularly interested in questions of pathologizing poverty, race, sexuality, and gender. I use four of Sean Baker’s films Prince of Broadway (2008), Starlet (2012), Tangerine (2015), and The Florida Project (2017) to look at difficult social issues such as poverty, violence, neoliberal economic structuring, and patriarchy. Complicated pathologies emerge as viewers work through these experiences of structural oppression with each film’s protagonist. To me, exploring how law is experienced by these characters assists in moving away from pathologizing both ourselves and others. To that end, this thesis is very personal at times, as I work out my own history, feelings and beliefs. In doing so, an important theme emerges: the development of interpersonal relationships to open up spaces of hope within oppressive structures. Insofar as law is oppressive, individual relationships press back.



Film, Law, Postmodernism, Structuralism, Race, Gender, Sexuality, Patriarchy, Self, Social Realism, Intersectionality, Poverty, Violence, Pathologies, Neoliberalism, Interpersonal