Slow Cinema at London Film Festival

The line up for this year’s London Film Festival has ben revealed, and it looks as though it’s going to be a strong and slow festival.

After the success at Cannes and other prominent festivals, Lav Diaz’s Norte will be screened in the category “Dare”. Albert Serra’s new film, Story of my Death, which recently won the Golden Leopard at Locarno, is also part of this category. We have Ben Rivers’ new film A Spell to Ward off the Darkness in the category “Experimenta”.

Apart from these usual suspects, French film Camille Claudel 1915 is also part of the festival. I’m convinced that there are more slow films in the line up than are actually talked about. I have already mentioned that there is a tendency to (deliberately) overlook equally great films, made by unknown directors, such as Yulene Olaizalo. I hope to get to see trailers of most films, and I can hopefully see a few of them in cinema, too.

What will be talked about for sure are the three above-named “big” names. But there is a larger realm of slow film out there. It’s just a question of whether it’ll be talked about. I’m looking forward to the BFI’s own edition of the Sight & Sound after the festival…particularly after they have pronunced Slow Cinema dead after Cannes. It’s going to be an interesting editorial by Nick James, I’m sure!

Update: I forgot to mention Philip Groening’s The Police Officer’s Wife. Groening made that unbelievably beautiful film Into Great Silence a few years ago.

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Slow Retirements Lav Diaz Official Website


Thank you very much from your blog. I learn a lot from it. Jia Zhangke’s new film will also screen in the fest but from the trailer it may not be a slow cinema like his earlier films.

You’re very welcome. I’m glad you find this blog helpful. I’m actually studying the films of Jia a bit as Lav Diaz admires him. Still Life is quite slow, but The World didn’t quite fit into it. I think he’s a director with changing aesthetics which is good. It makes it more experimental.

Totally agree with you about Jia.

Your blog s really helpful to me as a researcher and as a cinephile. I’m Tay or Graiwoot. I come from Thailand and will study the PhD at Queen Mary, U of London next month, and some of Lav’s work will be in my research too. When I was in Bkk, me and my friend created a retrospective for Lav, screening 5-6 his films. Watching Lav’s film was one of the life-changing experiences for me.

Would you mind sending me an email about your PhD project? I’d be keen on knowing more about it.

oh sure. could you give me your email?

Roughly, my project is not about temporal element but the spatiality in film. It will be about the forest in contemporary art cinema in the past decade, especially in the work of Apichatpong, Naomi Kawase, Lav (Melancholia) and other filipino filmmakers.

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