Tuesday 12 September 2017, 5.30pm – 8.30pm
Moot Court Room, 7th Floor, New Academic Building, LSE
Released in the same decade as the now infamous ‘duck and cover’ advertisements, and based on Nevil Shute’s best selling novel of the same name, On the Beach is a film that depicts, controversially, a dystopian future in which uncontained nuclear war causes the total destruction of life on earth. Throughout the Cold War, the wider consequences of nuclear conflict were highly contested with the US government taking the position that loss of human life could be contained. This dystopian fiction, filmed in Melbourne, challenged this official account by imagining Australia as the final continent to be encountered by a slow moving cloud of deadly radioactive dust generated by a large scale nuclear conflict. On the Beach was, remarkably, one of only a handful of films released during this period of heavy Hollywood censorship that engaged directly with the question of nuclear war at the forefront of public imagination at the time. Free of the hysterical tropes of the contemporary disaster film, On the Beach offers a strangely orderly, sombre and moving vision of life at the end of the world. For contemporary international lawyers, it prompts reflection on what sustains lawfulness when international institutions, community, and the state have all self-destructed.
Speaker: Ruth Buchanan (Osgoode Hall)
Chair: Gerry Simpson (LSE Law)
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