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Taking PlaceLocation and the Moving Image$
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John David Rhodes and Elena Gorfinkel

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816665167

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816665167.001.0001

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Living Dead Spaces: The Desire for the Localin the Films of George Romero

Living Dead Spaces: The Desire for the Localin the Films of George Romero

(p.317) 14 Living Dead Spaces: The Desire for the Localin the Films of George Romero
Taking Place

Hugh S. Manon

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter 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, it argues that when real locations (those clearly coded as specific but unknown to a generalized mass audience) are emphasized by the fictional filmic text, what results is a sort of extrusion of unknowable specificity, a blind spot in the field of spectatorial vision. Even spectators who know the place visible on-screen will run the risk of falling for their own supposedly privileged access to the image’s (and the place’s) plenitude. The desire for the local is, like desire itself, impossible to satisfy. George Romero’s early films, shot on location in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, provide a particularly instructive case study in the psychodynamics of localness in film.

Keywords:   film, cinema, localness, George Romero, anamorphosis, Jacques Lacan

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