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Welcome to Dreamland: From place to non-place and back again in Pawel Pawlikowski's Last Resort

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Abstract:

This paper explores the incorporation of anthropologist Marc Aug's theory of non-place into the study of representations of travel, migration and displacement in contemporary European cinema. Taking the British film Last Resort (Pawlikowski, 2000) as its central example, the idea of home as a structuring absence is considered by exploring the spatial geographies and practices within narratives of movement. Acknowledging the sedentariness of much of the travel and migratory experience, the non-place invokes the dreamscapes and imaginary spaces of Elsewhere from the realities of a quotidian spatio-temporal present. Last Resort, and other examples from contemporary film, employ a tripartite spatial structure of zones of arrival and departure, zones of stasis and zones of transition, to delineate the literal and metaphorical processes of displacement that mark the status of the traveller and migrant. Although the non-place provides a valuable and neglected area of study in filmic representations of anthropological and spatial practice, counter constructions of being and place are no less evident in a narrative gestalt where subjectivities are drawn from social and cinematic spaces which are ostensibly heterotopic.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ncin.1.2.78

Publication date: July 1, 2002

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  • The journal aims to provide a platform for the study of new forms of cinematic practice and fresh approaches to cinemas hitherto neglected in western scholarship. It particularly welcomes scholarship that does not take existing paradigms and theoretical conceptualisations as given; rather, it anticipates submissions that are refreshing in approach and exhibit a willingness to tackle cinematic practices that are still in the process of development into something new.  
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