The Time of Paranoi
In Groundhog Day, a1993filmdirectedbyHaroldRamisandstarr
tawney, Pennsylvania. He has been sent there to report on the fam
annual festival in which Punxsutawney Phil, the resident groundh
is brought to the town square each February 2 to see whether or no
casts a shadow, thereby predicting the beginning of spring. The fa
listic premise of the film is that Murray’s character, Phil Connors
condemned to wake up each morning to a new February 2 in Punx
tawney until he learns how to overcome his vanity and properly
mance the new producer who accompanies him in the field. Ram
clever, gimmicky film presents us with the spectacle of an endlessly
peatable, diurnal temporality framed within the repetition of an ann
event that serves to predict the specific future of the infinitely rep
able cycle of the seasons. Trapped in time, Murray’s egotistic enu
ator of the news is transformed into a small-town good guy conten
live (once he has reentered ‘‘normal’’ temporality) within the ritua
tic, rigid confines of Punxsutawney—the entire film employs roug
a half-dozen scenarios revisited with each passing of the same day.
this transformation only occurs via the film’s paranoid performat
or an identificatory logic in which the centrality of the weatherm
existence is bound up with a magical synchronicity that allows him
perfectly match intention with action such that the plot of the wo
and the plot of his life become one.
Groundhog Day is, at bottom, a paranoiac fantasy in which the p
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