There’s a certain international-art-film style that works to convey a sense of desolation through the rigorous avoidance of any interiority. These films are shot mostly in long shots and long takes, with a camera that either remains entirely still, or moves slowly, in order to continually but discreetly reframe. The acting is generally low-affect, or entirely affectless; the plot is sufficiently elliptical, oblique, and estranging, as to prevent us from assigning any motivations, or even emotional qualities, to the characters. There are great films in this style (like the works of Bela Tarr, which make us feel like we are seeing the world in an entirely new way), as well as a lot of less successful ones that come across as strained, pretentious, and desperately arty (I’d prefer not to finger any specific bad examples; anyone who watches lots of international art films will have their own sense of this).
This art-film tendency dovetails with America's contribution to the art film, the independent film. I've previously diagnosed the "cinema of anomie" in makers like Miranda July. It makes me wonder how much a neo-functionalist sociology underpins bourgeois artistic practice across national context in the industrialized West. Shaviro is mostly concerned with aesthetic judgment -and along the way produces a great textual outline of the new international art film. I'm just as interested with the possibility that the cinema of anomie is a political mystification in guise of cultural critique.