Human Rights Cinema: The Act of Killing and the Act of Watching


Collins, B. 2017. Human Rights Cinema: The Act of Killing and the Act of Watching. No Foundations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Law and Justice. 14.
AuthorsCollins, B.

Over the past twenty years, the phenomenon of Human Rights Cinema has emerged as an important way to think about the relationship between visual culture, human rights and activism. This article will interrogate some of the presuppositions behind this phenomenon and examine what it means for both cinema and the concept of human rights. The article will then look at The Act of Killing, a 2012 documentary that has raised many questions for the project of Human Rights Cinema. It will be argued that The Act of Killing does not fit easily within the canon of Human Rights Cinema, not simply because of controversies surrounding its making, but also because of the challenges it poses for ideas of spectatorship and authority. Furthermore, this article will propose that Slavoj Žižek’s observations on The Act of Killing provide a useful means to critique the understanding of human rights predominant in the concept of Human Rights Cinema.

JournalNo Foundations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Law and Justice
Journal citation14
PublisherSamuli Hurri
Publisher's version
Web address (URL)
Publication dates
Online01 Jun 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited29 Nov 2017
Copyright holderColllins, Barry
Copyright information© 2017 NoFo
LicenseAll rights reserved
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