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Taking Place

Location and the Moving Image

John David Rhodes

Publication Year: 2011

Taking Place argues that the relation between geographical location and the moving image is fundamental and that place grounds our experience of film and media. Its original essays analyze film, television, video, and installation art from diverse national and transnational contexts to rethink both the study of moving images and the theorization of place. Through its unprecedented—and at times even obsessive— attention to actual places, this volume traces the tensions between the global and the local, the universal and the particular, that inhere in contemporary debates on global cinema, television, art, and media.

Contributors: Rosalind Galt, U of Sussex; Frances Guerin, U of Kent; Ji-hoon Kim; Hugh S. Manon, Clark U; Ara Osterweil, McGill U; Brian Price, U of Toronto; Linda Robinson, U of Wisconsin–Whitewater; Michael Siegel; Noa Steimatsky, U of Chicago; Meghan Sutherland, U of Toronto; Mark W. Turner, Kings College London; Aurora Wallace, New York U; Charles Wolfe, U of California, Santa Barbara.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Introduction: The Matter of Places

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pp. vii-xxix

Toward the end of his Theory of Film, Siegfried Kracauer writes some of the most explicitly humanist passages to be found in the book, a book whose subtitle is, we should remember, The Redemption of Physical Reality. In the final chapter, under the subheading “Moments of Everyday Life,” Kracauer wonders if the “small units”...

Part I. Cinematic Style and the Places of Modernity

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pp. 1-33

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1. From Venice to the Valley: California Slapstick and the Keaton Comedy Short

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pp. 3-30

“California slapstick,” Jay Leyda’s label for screen comedy that emerged with the migration of the American motion picture industry to the West Coast in the 1910s, succinctly evokes the distinctive topography and comic physicality of the film genre Buster Keaton inherited when he gained control of his own production company...

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2. The Eclipse of Place: Rome’s EUR from Rossellini to Antonioni

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pp. 31-54

I want to begin this essay with a description of a place—a building, really—found in a curious travel book called A Time in Rome, written by the novelist Elizabeth Bowen and published in 1960. Bowen’s itinerary takes in the usual sites—Forum, fountains, Quirinal—but also many things that the polite mid-century female tourist...

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3. Tales of Times Square: Sexploitation’s Secret History of Place

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pp. 55-76

American sexploitation cinema of the 1960s has long been associated with the environment of the mythically seedy grind house theater, its blazing marquees and lurid come-ons pasted on one-sheets at theater front, beckoning unsuspecting passersby. Though sexploitation films were shot and their production companies...

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4. Derek Jarman in the Docklands: The Last of England and Thatcher’s London

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pp. 77-97

In spring 1986, Derek Jarman directed The Queen Is Dead, three linked music promos for the zeitgeist Manchester indie band The Smiths. This cinematic triptych for the songs “The Queen Is Dead,” “There’s a Light That Never Goes Out,” and “Panic” captures something of both the band’s and Jarman’s deeply felt...

Part II. Place as Index of Cinema

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pp. 99-131

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5. The Cinecittà Refugee Camp, 1944–50

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pp. 101-131

The conversion of one of Europe’s largest movie studios, Cinecittà, to a refugee camp has always seemed an odd footnote to the chronicles of Italian cinema. However, as one recognizes its material and historical vicissitudes, its true magnitude, the duration of its existence, and the broader social and political forces that governed...

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6. Right Here in Mason City: The Music Man and Small-Town Nostalgia

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pp. 133-156

It was just as if the movie had come to life, as if they were actually experiencing the thrill Professor Harold Hill sang about when “Gilmore, Liberatti, Pat Conway, the Great Creatore, W. C. Handy, and John Philip Sousa all came to town on the same historic day!”1 This sunny Tuesday was the high point, some might say, of...

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7. When the Set Becomes Permanent: The Spatial Reconfiguration of Hollywood North

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pp. 157-180

At Rosco Digital Imaging’s Toronto location, one of the many providers of backdrops of skyline scenes used in film and television productions, there are several scenic views of Manhattan available, including a financial district, an Upper East Side, and a view of the island from Brooklyn Heights, each under various lighting...

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8. The Last Place on Earth? Allegories of Deplacialization in Dennis Hopper’s The Last Movie

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pp. 181-208

In 1969, Dennis Hopper’s independently produced Easy Rider captured the counterculture’s pulse beyond the wildest dreams of the studios. Exploiting the techniques that had defined underground cinema in New York for the previous decade, Easy Rider represented the countercultural lifestyle as a perceptual euphoria...

Part III. Geopolitical Displacements

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pp. 209-241

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9. The Nonplace of Argento: The Bird with the Crystal Plumage and Roman Urban History

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pp. 211-231

Early in his debut film L’uccello dalle piume di cristallo ( The Bird with the Crystal Plumagee; 1970), Dario Argento presents the following scene: Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante), an American writer living in Rome, while out for an uneventful nighttime walk on an empty street in the modern Flaminio district, witnesses a struggle...

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10. The Placement of Shadows: What’s Inside William Kentridge’s Black Box/Chambre Noire?

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pp. 233-253

In the relatively small, but critically substantial, work on William Kentridge’s films, installations, theatrical sets, drawings, and sculptures, the emphasis has often been on questions of process, movement, ephemerality, and transformation. Critics have focused on Kentridge’s signature transformations of darkness into light,...

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11. Into the “Imaginary” and “Real” Place: Stan Douglas’s Site-Specific Film and Video Projection

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pp. 255-276

In the terrain of contemporary art, the projection of film and video in the gallery is a popular means of combining an image, a viewing subject, and a space. The term projection refers to the transfer of images—those made of light but not identical to it in their final figuration—onto the surfaces that embody them. This...

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12. Doing Away with Words: Synaesthetic Dislocations in Okinawa and Hong Kong

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pp. 277-295

Across his work as a cinematographer, photographer, and director, Christopher Doyle’s images seem to work against claims on materiality. His color-saturated cinematography for directors like Zhang Yimou, Pen-ek Ratanaruang, and Wong Kar-wai is more decorative than realist, and its abstracted style often focuses attention...

Part IV. (Not) Being There

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pp. 297-329

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13. Moving through Images

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pp. 299-316

This essay takes up as a theoretical problem a use of cinema with which we are all familiar and about which one rarely speaks, namely, moving—not what happens when an image moves but when we do. It is a question concerning the use we make of images of a place that we do not yet know in its livable potential, neither in its...

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14. Living Dead Spaces: The Desire for the Local in the Films of George Romero

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pp. 317-337

This essay theorizes the structure and function of localness in cinema, examining the split viewership that results when films embrace marginal, relatively unknown real spaces as a backdrop for fictional narrative. Drawing on Jacques Lacan’s discussion of anamorphosis, especially the idea that spectatorial engagement depends...

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15. On the Grounds of Television

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pp. 339-361

Since the medium of television emerged in the United States more than half a century ago, it has almost invariably been understood as a form of displacement. When we see a place on television, we are most often somewhere else—at home instead of at the ball game, at a bar in the United States instead of at the Olympics...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 363-395

We would like to thank, first and foremost, the contributors to this volume, all of whom have been exceedingly patient as this collection has made its slow way to publication. Apart from their patience, we want to thank them for the ingenious ways in which they responded to the collection’s preoccupations. We also offer...

Contributors

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pp. 365-367

Index

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pp. 369-376


E-ISBN-13: 9780816678341
E-ISBN-10: 0816678340
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816665174

Page Count: 392
Publication Year: 2011