Spatial Justice: Space, place and counter-normative movement in Latcho Drom

  • Emily Patchett Käte Hamburger Centre for the Advanced Study of Law and the Humanities, Bonn, Germany
Keywords: Law and film, Roma, diaspora, space, temporality, spatial justice


At a time when diasporic identity is being acutely challenged, it is important to pay critical attention to counter-cultural texts which refract hegemonic discourse through alternative spatial landscapes. The French film Latcho Drom (Gatlif, 1993) provides a stylised and radically unique retelling of the journey of the Roma from the Thar Desert in Northern India to Spain, passing through Egypt, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and France. Gatlif’s film can be read as a sensory refraction of legal frameworks of exclusion on the ‘edges of Europe’, and acts as a site in which it is possible to explore the way in which a minority filmmaker constructs alternative spaces of justice. Through the practice of textual analysis, this article will examine how various framing techniques subvert the hegemonic qualities of the law through the cinematic depiction of a lyrical and diasporic journey through Southern Europe, in order to deconstruct the way in which the aural and visual space refracts law’s function as a spacing mechanism. Drawing on Gilles Deleuze’s work on cinema and within a theoretical framework of critical space theory, this article will discuss key issues of counter-cultural topographies, alternative spacing mechanisms and the construction of spaces of justice in the context of law and film.


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