Casablanca: Judgment and Dynamic Enclaves in Law and Cinema

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By interpreting the narrative and imagery of the film Casablanca, this article seeks to explore the concept of law as enclave. An enclaves is a domain-physical, virtual-emotional, conceptual, social or other-defined by certain boundaries and rules of entrance and exit. We argue that Casablanca is about constructing and reconstructing such enclaves. The structure of a pending journey between enclaves organizes the events taking place in Casablanca and constitutes their dynamic nature. Enclaves, we argue, are central to the structure and operation of the law. Recognizing the enclitic nature of law allows us a better grasp of the ethical dimensions of legal practices and reasoning, Further, it makes apparent the oft-overlooked aesthetic dimensions of normative judgments in law (and in film). Our analysis of Casablanca's legal aspects is one example of how law and film may be juxtaposed. Such juxtaposition enriches our understating of the concepts that structure law and offers a nuances reading of ethical judgment practiced within the legal and cinematic discourses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-227
Number of pages27
JournalOsgoode Hall Law Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004


  • casablanca
  • film
  • cinema
  • enclaves
  • ethics
  • emotions
  • judgment
  • WW2


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