At first glance, David Yates's 2016 fantasy film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them appears to exemplify the nostalgic cinema that Fredric Jameson dismisses as postmodern pastiche that merely imitates the past through superficial details such as setting and costumes. Set in New York in 1926, Fantastic Beasts evokes the elegance and allure of the Roaring Twenties. The film invokes an idealized past, re-presented through the lens of "magic" as a place where all social, racial, and gendered differences have been erased. Fantastic Beasts articulates a powerful cultural yearning for an idealized bygone era while superimposing contemporary concerns about liberty, equality, preservation, and ecology on the past. I argue, however, that Fantastic Beasts does not merely use nostalgia as a surface strategy to create cinematic allure. Embedded in the film's self-reflexive structure is a deeper analysis of nostalgia itself, both in its reflective postmodern mode and in the form of a politically and religiously charged restorative nostalgia.


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pp. 48-65
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