Monday, October 8, 2012

Optimistic Rosetta

I'd like to focus my blog post for this week on the films and then touch upon a few interesting points within the Berlant. One of the most piercing moments for me in Rosetta was when she spent the night at Riquet's home, reveling in her new found comfort repeating to herself that she could now live a normal life like everyone else. The contents of this normal life are work, friends, stability as well as a slew of other feelings and relationships she now believes are within her grasp. The tragedy that the film presents though is that each of these individual aspects of the good life are necessarily in competition with each other. Furthermore it is each individual who competes for a place in the good life. For as Rosetta quickly learns there are never enough jobs to go around such that no where near everyone is capable of living a 'normal' life.
To look at another situation guided by the struggle for a good, normal life we see the paternalistic desire  of fathers to provide for their children in both films. The waffle stand owner suspends Rosetta's employment in favor of his son, an employee he appears to have repeated troubles with and who he seems to employee only out of a desire to provide his son with stability. Similarly, in Time Out when Vincent is finally confronted by his family, the explanation he provides to his son Julian is that he did what he had to do so that their lives would not have to change, that his extreme measures and deceptions were necessary to preserve a sense of normalcy and prevent a disruption of the habits their manner of lives depended on.
These instances of paternalism as well as the condition of Rosetta seem to deal with the sense of cruel optimism as understood by Berlant, particularly underscoring how it is not merely this optimism that is cruel but how this optimism in a neoliberal economy positions the individual subject in both constant dependance and conflict with those around them. It is because Rosetta needs a job to have a normal life that she cannot have the friends which her normal life should optimistically entail. 

No comments: