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Fotografía de Juan Claudio de Ramón, Javier Gomá y Eduardo Torres-Dulce

The Professorship of Exemplarity organises a film forum on “The Ox-Bow Incident”

19 March 2024

On Tuesday, 19 March, the Professorship of Exemplarity at CUNEF Universidad held a film forum on William A. Wellman’s “The Ox-Bow Incident” (1943), a classical western starring Henry Fonda. After viewing the film, expert speakers participated in a discussion in which they highlighted some key concepts and ideas:

  • The film, released in 1943, remains extremely relevant, since it addresses issues such as individual responsibility, mob lynching, the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” and the right to a fair trial.
  • Free will and intent may be lessened when an individual becomes part of a mob, but they never disappear completely.
  • Democracy without Liberalism can end in tyranny. The characters of “The Ox-Bow Incident” resort to a democratic principle that is contrary to individual rights and freedoms, because they vote to hang three men without conclusive proof of their guilt, just vaguely plausible evidence.
  • Hoaxes and fake news can mobilize vengeful masses. Incomplete but accurate information can turn into complete but false information that sparks a passion for revenge.
  • Rule of law must ensure the sentimental education of democratic citizens and cool and analytical attitudes towards legal actions.
  • Democracy requires proactive citizens that know their rights and obligations.
  • Moral coarseness leads to a society that masks responsibility, with an inquisitorial tendency to prosecute others.

The discussion was moderated by the Chair of Exemplarity, Javier Gomá, and included the participation of Eduardo Torres-Dulce and Juan Claudio de Ramón.