If speed is a cornerstone of contemporary life, then one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome in the fight against agism is the fact that senescence entails a slowing down of the human body and mind. The question this essay asks is whether this form of life can afford epistemological and moral benefits within a productivist culture of speed that stigmatizes slowness and inactivity. In order to pursue an answer to this question, the essay turns to what critics have begun to call “slow cinema” and examines two films about people suffering from senescence-related slowness: Yasujirō Ozu's Tokyo Story (1953) and Lee Chang-dong's Poetry (2010). The essay treats the slowness that can accompany age as an experiential form and places it on the same plane of formalist inquiry as slow cinema, an aesthetic form characterized by a decelerated pace, long takes, minimalist editing, and an emphasis on the temporality of quotidian life. The essay establishes its methodological approach by bringing Caroline Levine's formalism into conversation with Maurice Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology and André Bazin's writings on cinematic realism. Ultimately, the essay contends that Ozu's and Lee's films associate the value of slowing down our thinking and expanding our attention spans with the perceptual potentialities of age-related slowness within a culture of speed.

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