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March 1995, Week 3


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Susan Denker <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 20 Mar 1995 17:08:21 CST
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> > In other words, it points for the need for a prior knowledge
> > that pure formalism cannot acknowledge--a contextual formalism can give
> > access to some of these films, but we need to find the contexts first.
> >
> > When an American viewer who even lacks much of the context of the classical
> > Western past encounters these works, there is little to anchor them.
> >
> > --Don Larsson, Mankato State U., MN
> >
 This was followed by Gloria Monti's:
>         You are pointing to the important problem of diegetic
> intelligibility predicated upon extradiegetic knowledge.  But isn't
> Bertolucci (not the Bertolucci of the "Asian" trilogy!) always assuming
> historical-cultural knowledge about his films?  *Il Conformista,* just to
> name one.  And Godard's *La Chinoise?*  Godard in general?  But we have
> all gained the necessary expertise to access these films, havent' we?
> Why can't it work for Sembene's films as well?
 Here's my thought. If we try to say what we do see or know without
insisting that it is *right* there's a chance that someone with more
background or *extradiagetic* expertise will speak up and help out, and
we'll be all the wiser for this dialogue. The problem Don Larsson raises
in relation to YEELEN is a real one, but not a show-stopper.
 (Gloria, I just have to say that the word *extradiagetic* always makes me
think of the Marx Brothers parody of legalese. I know you'll forgive me.)
 Susan Denker   Tufts Univ./Museum School