Cinema of Law returns: Tuesdays in March, 6 pm


The Cinema of Law returns for a ninth year, providing screening of films on legal topics with  commentary by law professionals.  Presentations by local attorneys begin at 6 p.m. and the movies follow. Join us for one or more – or the full series!

March 3 Thou Shalt Not: Sex, Sin and Censorship in Pre-Code Hollywood (2008)
Attorney Lou Oggiani, speaker
A documentary about the history of the Hays Code, a set of moral guidelines instituted in 1930 by a watchdog group led by a former U. S. Postmaster General. In 1915, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that free speech protection did not extend to motion pictures, and this set the stage for the industry to police itself until the Court overturned the decision in 1952.

March 10 Runaway Jury (2003)
Attorney Michael McCarthy, speaker
Based on a novel by John Grisham, this is a film that examines the integrity of our jury system at a time when Massachusetts is about to introduce attorney and self-represented party participation in juror voir dire.

March 17 Rashomon (1950)
Honorable Joan McMenemy, speaker
Directed by Akira Kurosawa, this tale presents four witnesses’ accounts of a rape and murder that took place in a forest, each presenting a different point of view. The film examines how truth is viewed through different lenses, and the Judge will speak to this from her experience on the bench and as a prosecutor.

March 24 The Rape of Europa (2006)
Attorney Paul Rapp, speaker
A documentary which tells the story of “the systematic theft, deliberate destruction and miraculous survival of Europe’s art treasures during the Third Reich and the Second World War.” Paul Rapp is an adjunct professor of copyright and art and entertainment law at the Albany Law School.

A Collaboration

Cinema of Law exists due to the planning of Barbara Schneider and Gary Smith, Law Librarians of the Berkshire Trial Court Law Library. Gary and Barbara choose films which touch upon a point of law. Next they recruit volunteers from the Berkshire Bar Association to comment on the points of law portrayed in the films. The third organization instrumental in bringing the very popular series to the public is the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum who purchase the DVDs and the performance rights for each film. These DVDs will be added to the library collection after each featured performance.

Attention College Students: The Cinema of Law screenings have been recognized by Berkshire Community College as acceptable for Forum Credit.


About Berkshire Athenaeum

We are the public library for the city of Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
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