The halls of Justice

by Labai on 週二, 26 二月 2008 評論
These are a couple of pictures taken while wandering in the halls of the Taiwan High Court located close to the presidential palace in the very heart of Taipei city. We just walked randomly in the labyrinthine building where, as it was lunch time, we only met a few ghostly figures. The empty stairs, the gloomy austerity of the whole architecture and layout do inspire severity and respect, with a little frightening something though. We climb another flight of stairs, the thick carpet is muffling the sound of our steps, I just cannot prevent feeling a chill in my neck; it just seems like a sleeping place, frozen in time. We pass in front of a policeman who frowns at us.

I think of French director Raymond Depardon who filmed the places where justice is exerted ("Délits flagrants" ,1994 and "10e Chambre, instants d’audience" - translated in English as "The 10th District Court: Moments Of Trials" -, 2004). In Depardon’s films, the courts are confined places where take place micro human dramas in the secret and the uniqueness of each personal experience. In these movies, Justice is not that machinery without a face which sucks in lives and stories. What are the most important according to Depardon are the words, the “face of words” as he himself writes in the preface to his book “paroles prisonnières, 2004” which compiles some of the words recorded during his shootings. They are the raw words as they were pronounced in the secret of the court. Real testimonies, they also carry their load of universality reinforced by the absence of explanation, context, name… The court is a place of transition, it is the passage that leads either to jail, freedom or remission.

As I was pondering these thoughts, someone approached and asked for the exit. We all headed to the main door.

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