Slow Cinema

The other day, I attended a talk about ‘Slow Cinema’ and this being a common form used in modern arthouse cinema, to the extent that some filmmakers only use this technique. It discussed the tropes, the filmmakers of this pseudo-movement and it’s close connection to Neomodernism.

Filmmakers:

  • Sokurov
  • Bruno Dumont
  • Tarr,
  • Tsai Ming-liang
  • Antanoni
  • Frummartino
  • L.Diaz
  • Sharunas
  • Bartas
  • Kelemen
  • Reygadas
  • A. Escalante
  • Green

Similar to transnational cinema and alternatively called Contemporary Contemplative Cinema (CCC). A blog to look into would be Harry Tuttle’s ‘Unspoken Cinema’. With slow european art cinema, the best films are like contemplative and intensification of watching films (the process of watching films).

Narration and storytelling:

  • Slow pace
  • Long shots
  • Metaphorical use of space
  • Classical plot/films without beginning or conclusion – unchangeable situation (about grief, sorrow, sense of displacement)
  • Narrative gimmicks e.g. Flashbacks, puzzle films (memento, fight club)
  • Abjective narrative, look at someone or something w/o going inside the mind of the character and distance to the character/world
  • Simplicity

Communication:

  • Silence – don’t want to say anything/have nothing to say
  • No emotional or psychological motivates
  • No VoiceOver
  • The body is the main form of communication/body language

Acoustics:

  • “Eye is lazy, because if we see something it is enough for us to understand the situation” – we can’t see the source of the sound but we can imagine it, the ear is not lazy it is active.

Time:

  • Static shots
  • Grief, sorrow, nostalgia, melancholy, death, isolation, alienation
  • Melancholy explores emotions over time, nostalgia functions distance and space
  • Time is visual not mechanical
  • “The time is not dependant on movement or activities of characters, but is independent.”
  • The character cannot do anything to change the situation, waiting for something.

Why is it Neomodernism?:

– closely connected with great modernist filmmakers of 50s,60s,70s

– against postmodern cinema

Film Clips:

Classroom scene, Kasaba (1997) Dir: Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Villages and farm animals scene, Le Quattre Volte (2010) Dir: Michelangelo Frammartino

Hospital Scene, Werckmeister Harmonies (2001) Dir: Béla Tarr, Agnes Hranitzky

Trailer for, What Time Is It There? (2001) Dir: Tsai Ming-liang

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