Choose two of the three short quotations drawn from the additional required readings assigned thus far (i.e. readings other than Nochimson). For each, write a short 500-word essay that situates the quotation within the wider context of the author’s discussion. What specific point is he or she trying to make in the quotation? How does this specific point link up to the broader elements of the argument? Why is the quotation, and the strand of argument it represents, important within the broader essay as well as within the larger context of film studies discourse? Be concise. Remember that this assignment is not about your own critical view of the discussion. You are simply being asked to present the author’s argument in your own words as clearly and economically as possible.
Despite Jeanne Dielman’s extravagant, excessive visualization of the most mundane details of everyday domestic life, I would argue that the film itself betrays a skepticism about its ability to make visible the terms of reproductive labor; it follows, then, that the film emits a skepticism regarding the critical purchase of the visible itself. We might consider that by leaving Jeanne’s sex scenes outside the frame, the film gestures in the direction of the labor that we will never see, even when we live amid the commodities that this labor produces and alongside the bodies that this labor exhausts. The film questions the status and efficacy of the visible; and it questions in particular the capacity of cinema itself—with its durational, “realist” ability to bear witness—to make visible. It points to something outside the grasp of the cinematic—to something that, perhaps necessarily cinema is very good at indicating, but that it itself can never remedy. In refusing these scenes of work, the film suspends the question of art’s efficacy to account for labor. But perhaps even more importantly, the film challenges the valorization of labor itself.
John David Rhodes, ‘Art Cinema’s Immaterial Labors’
Because the audience perceives Tomi’s death as inevitable and because the moral/immoral dichotomy has been exposed early in the film (Noriko the generous vs Shige the ingrate), with all character development static, the story has been told and its ‘suspense’ has been dispersed, creating time for meditation of ‘how’ and ‘when’ rather than ‘what’ will happen. Since nearly all the nuances of ‘character’ and ‘story’ are revealed early in the film, what follows has final value, not only value as part of an action as in the classical style. Dennis Konshak, ‘Space and Narrative in Tokyo Story’
I have uploaded bothe the required readings as well as a couple class slides that went along with the seconf quote and reading.