Documentary films and short fiction can be very helpful in teaching classes or seminars on international and comparative family law. Of the films I have shown students, the best for my purposes is Divorce Iranian Style, by Kim Longinotto and Ziba Mir-Hosseini (1998). The film is a nice complement to Mir-Hosseini’s book, Marriage on Trial: A Study of Islamic Family Law (rev. ed. 2001). It is distributed by Women Make Movies, which has many other films in its online catalogue that would be useful teaching tools. For some of these, there are trailers or previews available on youtube or google video; here’s the trailer for Divorce Iranian Style, and here’s the trailer for another WMM film called Four Wives – One Man (Nahid Persson, 2007.)
Some years ago, one of my colleagues at Iowa pointed me toward a film on divorce mediation in China that is now a bit out of date but still helps my class to step back and think more broadly about dispute resolution. The ending always comes as a bit of a surprise. The film is one installment of a 12-part documentary series shown on PBS called The Heart of the Dragon filmed in the early 1980s. Many university and public libraries have this series, and the book by Alasdair Clayre produced to accompany it. Another installment on marriage traditions is also interesting. If you use these films with students, it is important to note that the laws in China on marriage and divorce have changed considerably in recent years!