Slow cinema is a genre of art cinema film-making that emphasizes long takes, and is typically characterised by a style that is minimalist, observational, and with little or no narrative.[1][2] It is sometimes called "contemplative cinema".[3] Examples include Ben Rivers' Two Years at Sea, Michelangelo Frammartino's Le Quattro Volte and Shaun Wilson's film 51 Paintings.[2][4][5]

History

Progenitors of the genre include Andrei Tarkovsky, Ingmar Bergman, Michelangelo Antonioni, Robert Bresson, František Vláčil, Pier Paolo Pasolini, G. Aravindan, Aleksandr Sokurov, Béla Tarr, Chantal Akerman, Theo Angelopoulos, Abbas Kiarostami and Franco Piavoli.[6][7] Tarkovsky argued that "I think that what a person normally goes to cinema for is time".[1]

Greek director Theo Angelopoulos has been described as an "icon of the so-called Slow Cinema movement".[8]

Recent underground film movements such as Remodernist film share the sensibility of slow or contemplative cinema. Examples include The Turin Horse by Béla Tarr, Horse Money by Pedro Costa, the works of Fred Kelemen and The Earth Still Moves by Pablo Chavarría Gutiérrez.

G. Aravindan was a filmmaker whose works such as Kanchana Sita, Thampu and Esthappan have been regarded as embodying a uniquely original style of contemplative cinema where the aesthetic sensibility and philosophical insights of Indian culture could find a meditative mode of expression within more universal contexts of humanism and transcendentalism.[9][7][10]

The AV Festival held a Slow Cinema Weekend at the Star and Shadow Cinema in Newcastle, UK in March 2012, including the films of Rivers, Lav Diaz, Lisandro Alonso and Fred Kelemen.[1][4][11][5]

Recent examples also include films by Kelly Reichardt, Bruno Dumont, Albert Serra, Lech Majewski, Benedek Fliegauf, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Anocha Suwichakornpong, Vimukthi Jayasundara, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Tsai Ming-Liang, Lav Diaz, Sergei Loznitsa, Carlos Reygadas, Amat Escalante, Nicolas Pereda, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Sharunas Bartas, Pedro Costa, and Scott Barley.[12][13]

Notable slow films

[14][15][7][1][16][17][18][19][20][21]

Reception

Sight & Sound noted of the definition of slow cinema that "The length of a shot, on which much of the debate revolves, is a quite abstract measure if divorced from what takes place within it".[4] The Guardian contrasted the long takes of the genre with the two-second average shot length in Hollywood action movies, and noted that "they opt for ambient noises or field recordings rather than bombastic sound design, embrace subdued visual schemes that require the viewer's eye to do more work, and evoke a sense of mystery that springs from the landscapes and local customs they depict more than it does from generic convention."[1] The genre has been described as an "act of organized resistance" similar to the Slow food movement.[3]

Criticism

It has been criticized as being indifferent or even hostile to audiences.[1] A backlash by Sight & Sound's Nick James, and picked up by online writers, argued that early uses of long takes were "adventurous provocations created by extremists" whereas recent films are "operating within a recognized, default artistic idiom."[22] The Guardian's film blog concluded that "being less overweeningly precious about films that are likely to be impenetrable to even the most well-informed audiences would seem an idea."[23] Dan Fox of Frieze criticized both the dichotomy of the argument into 'philistine' vs 'pretentious' and the reductiveness of the term "slow cinema".[24]

The American director Paul Schrader wrote about Slow Cinema in his book Transcendental Style in Film, and he described it as an aesthetic tool. He argues that most viewers find slow cinema boring, yet he answers why "..viewers put up with such abuse? Such boredom".[25] And that's because "..slow film director keeps his viewer on the hook, thinking there's a reward, a payoff just around the corner."[25]

Controversy

Recently, film scholars Katherine Fusco and Nicole Seymour have written that the slow cinema movement has been mischaracterized by both supporters and detractors. As they argue, much "commentary posits slow cinema as a kind of pastoral for the present moment, a respite from our technologically saturated ... Hollywood-blockbuster-centered era." Such commentary therefore associates the movement with pleasure and relaxation. But in reality, slow cinema films often focus on down-and-out laborers; as Fusco and Seymour argue, "for those on the fringes of society, modernity is actually experienced as slowness, and usually to their great detriment."[26]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Sukhdev Sandhu. 'Slow cinema' fights back against Bourne's supremacy. The Guardian, 9 March 2012
  2. ^ a b Steven Rose. Two Years At Sea: little happens, nothing is explained. The Guardian, 26 April 2012.
  3. ^ a b Thomas Elsaesser, Stop/Motion in Eivind Rossaak (ed). Between Stillness and Motion: Film, Photography, Algorithms. p117. 2011
  4. ^ a b c Miller, Henry K. (March 2012). "Doing time: 'slow cinema' at the AV Festival". Sight & Sound. Archived from the original on 2012-04-04.
  5. ^ a b Tom Clift. Experimental Expression Archived 2014-04-16 at the Wayback Machine. 'Filmink Magazine', August, 2012.
  6. ^ Nick James. Syndromes of a new century. Sight & Sound, February 2010
  7. ^ a b c Srikanth Srinivasan. Flashback #84. The Seventh Art blog, 10 April 2011
  8. ^ David Jenkins. Theo Angelopoulos: the sweep of history Archived 2012-04-23 at the Wayback Machine. Sight & Sound, February 2012
  9. ^ Srikanth Srinivasan. "Outtakes: G. Aravindan". The Hindu, 12 October 2013
  10. ^ Sasikumar Vasudevan. Aravindan – A Scriptless Creative Film Director. Sahapedia, 21 August 2018
  11. ^ Slow Cinema Weekend. AV Festival, March 2012.
  12. ^ Smith, Nigel M (2017-03-01). "Kelly Reichardt: 'Faster, faster, faster – we all want things faster'". The Guardian.
  13. ^ Tiago de Luca, Tiago; Nuno Barradas Jorge (eds.). Slow Cinema. ISBN 9780748696048.
  14. ^ 20 Slow Films From This Century That Reward Patience — Taste of Cinema
  15. ^ Nick James. Syndromes of a new century. Sight & Sound, February 2010
  16. ^ David Jenkins. Theo Angelopoulos: the sweep of history Archived 2012-04-23 at the Wayback Machine. Sight & Sound, February 2012
  17. ^ Smith, Nigel M (2017-03-01). "Kelly Reichardt: 'Faster, faster, faster – we all want things faster'". The Guardian.
  18. ^ Tiago de Luca, Tiago; Nuno Barradas Jorge (eds.). Slow Cinema. ISBN 9780748696048.
  19. ^ Slow cinema: what it is and why it’s on a fast track to the mainstream in a frenetic world - The Conversation
  20. ^ "Hu Bo's An Elephant Sitting Still, Tarkovsky's Stalker, The Godfather, and the concept of slow cinema-Entertainment News , Firstpost". Firstpost. 2018-12-20. Retrieved 2022-02-19.
  21. ^ "10 great slow films". BFI. Retrieved 2022-02-19.
  22. ^ Vadim Rizov. Slow cinema backlash. IFC, 12 May 2010.
  23. ^ Danny Leigh. The view: Is it OK to be a film philistine? The Guardian Film Blog, 21 May 2010
  24. ^ Dan Fox. Slow, Fast, and Inbetween Archived 2011-09-08 at the Wayback Machine.Frieze blog, 23 May 2010
  25. ^ a b Schrader, Paul (2018). Transcendental Style in Film: Ozu, Bresson, Dreyer. Oakland, California: University of California Press. pp. 19–20. ISBN 9780520296817.
  26. ^ Fusco and Seymour. Kelly Reichardt: Emergency and the Everyday.December 2017