Olivier Corten
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The UN Charter in action movies
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This chapter aims at assessing the place of the UN Charter in ‘action movies’, i.e. movies representing the use of armed force in international relations. After spending several hundreds of hours in watching films and series of this kind, a clear conclusion can be drawn: the UN Charter rules are, in most cases, not cited or even evoked as such. The legal debate often appears unnecessary, inappropriate or absurd. To the viewer, it is rather the emergency of the situation and the necessity of action that prevails. In the rare cases where a legal rule is at stake, it is either interpreted broadly to justify military action, or rejected as a formalistic and unrealistic constraint. All in all, action movies generally represent the UN Charter rule on the use of force as inefficient, illegitimate or even ludicrous. Those characteristics can sometimes be explained by certain links between Hollywood and the Pentagon. But, in most cases, the image of a UN Charter with limited scope and effects appears as a cultural representation shared by many directors and filmmakers without any political interference.

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