Introduction: Evidence, ambiguity, and expression in Big Mouth

Bremen Donovan, Nomi Dave


This Forum brings together a group of interdisciplinary scholars who reflect with us about our film-in-progress, Big Mouth, about defamation, sexual violence, and advocacy in Guinea. In this introductory essay, we lay out the complex constellation of events, people, and questions that animate the film. We also introduce the central themes of justice claims and evidence that inspire and tie together our respective contributions to Hau. In this regard, we ask what role ethnography and filmmaking might serve. While video is increasingly used as a form of evidence in legal proceedings, what is its potential as a form of intervention outside of the courtroom? How can film resist the binary thinness of political discourse and legal practice by instead exploring the sensorial experiences of justice claims and aspirations? Collectively, we think beyond formal legal approaches to evidence and testimony and instead towards more expansive and everyday modes of witnessing and practices of testifying, naming, and shame.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/723702