Latest Issue


Does it matter if a movie set in America is filmed in Romania? Does it matter if the location has been generated by computer? The answer is no, and yes

By Mark Cousins   December 2004

Think of Taxi Driver and its unforgettable depiction of the teeming nightlife in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen district. Or the Rome of Bicycle Thieves. Or Los Angeles in Michael Mann’s Heat. Or the Iranian villages in the films of Makhmalbaf. In each case the setting is not just the world out of which the characters grow, but also, somehow, the reason why the film exists.

This is not always the case with great movies. The oft-quoted example is Casablanca, not a foot of which was shot on location. Studio filming lent it a seductive veneer. The flaws and accidents of real…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect