Slow Short Film Festival – Full Programme

Last year, the very first edition of the Slow Short Film Festival took place in Mayfield, England. It was a first, to me in any case. A festival focusing exclusively on slow films – a dream I have had since I started writing on Slow Cinema, and then this dream comes true thanks to a group of wonderful people. This year, I have joined the programming team and I’d like to present to you this year’s festival programme. Eight films from around the world, eight films that deal in different ways with cinematic slowness. What is best for long-time followers of mine and for supporters of tao films, is that you get a 20% discount on a festival ticket if you’re a tao films subscriber. And if you’re buying a festival ticket and are not yet a subscriber, you get 20% of your subscription to tao films. So, if you’re in or around Mayfield on 1 September, drop by, see amazing films, have a chat with likeminded people, and, with a bit of luck, you can also meet me! ūüôā

The following eight films will be shown:

António and Catarina. In this film from Romanian director and cinematographer Cristina Haneș, a 70-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman share a candid and twisted relationship with a deadline. Trapped in one room, António and Catarina are negotiating the terms of their relationship.

Double Reflection by Taiwanese filmmaker Wang Chun Hong. Wang records the connection between himself and photography. His works integrate fictional life experiences with self-performance, where boundaries between fiction and reality are blurred.

In Greenland, an autobiographical film from Israeli filmmaker Oren Gerner, Oren returns to his family home to pack up before moving in with his girlfriend. The process exposes Oren’s liminal place – between child and adult, between intimacy and alienation.

High Cities of Bone, by Portuguese director Jo√£o Salaviza, tells the story of Karlon, a pioneer of Cape Verdean Creole rap who runs away from the housing project to which he was relocated. Among the sugarcanes, a murmur is heard. Karlon hasn’t stopped singing.

How Do You Thirst? by Los Angeles-based filmmaker Joshua Gleason is a dialogue-free meditation set amid a growing water crisis. The film sees a lonely Japanese woman take in a stranger whom she finds passed out in the stairwell of her apartment complex.

In Investigations of a Dog, a young man, frustrated by his grim existence, decides to lie down by the river and test whether society will take care of him or let him die. Exposed to the hospitality of the elderly couple who find him, he discovers new purpose in assuaging their loneliness. The film is a work by director Aleksandra Niemczyk, a former student of Béla Tarr.

One and Many by German-born, London-based filmmaker Jonas Bak. A fly is trapped behind a window. A man lives in a new city. People’s worlds are crammed together, yet they are galaxies apart. Flies are drawn to a streetlight. Alone and together. One and many.

In 90 Seconds in North Korea, Croatian filmmaker Ranko Paulovic, who now works in the Netherlands, presents the other side of North Korean life: a world away from the army parades, paranoid leaders, oppression and fear.

A very strong line-up and I’m very proud to say that tao films will show a selection of the best submissions as part of an online festival in late September. I’m prepping the festival now to bring you as great a selection as I can! Remember, the festival takes place on 1 September in Mayfield. Early bird tickets are now ¬£8 (until 31 July), including transport to and from Mayfield, and food.

Another Year – Another Festival

I’m not posting those things very often, but I’m delighted about the success of the slow film that is on the top of my list for DVD distribution; Another Year by Shengze Zhu. I wrote an entry about it not so long ago, a stunning three-hour long film about a Chinese migrant family eating. Well, in fact, the film is about much more and I believe this is the reason for its success. Like many other slow films that have their place on this website,¬†Another Year uses stark simplicity in order to tell stories about the complexities of life.

Shengze’s film has been to several festivals, and the success story continues to impress. Today in exactly a month, on 26 June, the film will have its UK premiere (very important!) at the Open City Documentary Festival in London. And, best of all, the film is a Grand Jury Award nominee. Congratulations, Shengze!

And if you’re in London on 26 June, please do see the film at Open City Documentary Festival! They have more than only¬†Another Year. The programme looks generally pretty slow. They also show¬†Dead Slow Ahead, a film I’m still waiting to see. So go, go, go!

Dates for Lav Diaz retrospective in Brussels

The schedule has finally been published and I’m happy to list the dates of the Cinematek’s Lav Diaz retrospective here, starting in mid-September and lasting until the end of November. Diaz’s films will be shown in chronological order, starting with is more commercial¬†Naked under the Moon and ending with his Yolanda documentary¬†Storm Children Book I. In connection to this retrospective, the Cinematek also shows a few other Filipino films in order to contextualise Diaz appropriately. I will also be involved in the Lav Diaz symposium at the University of Antwerp at which Michael Guarneri and I will give a lecture, followed by a screening of¬†Storm Children and a roundtable discussion with Diaz.

Here are the dates for you:

10 September, 19.30 – A conversation between me and Tom Paulus from the University of Antwerp about Lav Diaz and his filmmaking. We will explore film aesthetics, Slow Cinema and Philippine Cinema in a bit more detail. The talk is followed by the screening of Diaz’s¬†Naked Under the Moon at 21.30.

12 September, 17.30 –¬†Batang West Side (2001), 315min

16 September, 18.00 –¬†Hesus, Rebolusyanaryo (2002), 112min

20 September, 10.00 –¬†Evolution of a Filipino Family (2004) [this film is cut into two parts and will give the viewer an hour’s break|, 593min

27 September, 13.00Heremias, Book I (2006), 540min

18 October, 13.00Death in the Land of Encantos (2009), 540min

25 October, 15.00 –¬†Melancholia (2008), 450min

29 October, 21.30Prologue to the Great Desaparecido (2013), Butterflies Have No Memories (2009), 31min + 59min

1 November, 17.30 –¬†Century of Birthing (2011), 360min

3 November, 20.30 –¬†An Investigation into the night that won’t forget (2012), 70min

8 November, 17.30Florentina Hubaldo, CTE (2012), 360min

10 November, 10.30 – Lav Diaz symposium at the University of Antwerp

11 November, 14.00 –¬†Norte, The End of History (2013), followed by a conversation with Lav Diaz

12 November, 19.30 –¬†Manila in the Claws of the Light¬†(Lino Brocka, 1975), preceded by a conversation with Lav Diaz

20 November, 17.30From What Is Before (2014), 338min

26 November, 19.30 –¬†Storm Children, Book I (2014), 143min

For more info on the films and other Filipino films the Cinematek is screening, please refer to the official website.

Plenty going on and ample opportunities for you to see a Lav Diaz film on a big screen. I’m trying to be there for most films and introduce them as well. I will obviously also be around for the talk on 10 September and for the symposium on 10 November. Maybe I can meet some of you?

Lav Diaz retrospective at Cinematek, Brussels

If you either can’t get enough of Lav Diaz’s films or want to get to know his kind of cinema or are simply desperate to find opportunities to see his films on a big screen, you will have plenty chances this autumn. The¬†Jeu de Paume in Paris is no longer the only venue in Europe to set up a retrospective. Brussel’s¬†Cinematek is following suite. Plus, because they have an immense programme planned for autumn anyway, they will need to start the retrospective very soon. We’re speaking of mid-September here.

The dates will be confirmed in the next couple days. They will screen around 10 to 12 films of his (if I remember correctly), including his documentaries¬†Storm Children Book One and¬†Investigation into a night that won’t forget, the latter usually being a rare sight. The retrospective will last until November. Diaz himself will be present, too, possibly in mid-November. Again, exact dates will be confirmed soon.

That’s TWO big chances for you to see the good man (and director!) this year. If you’re living in Brussels and think of attending, or if want to come around for the retrospective, please drop me an email (theartsofslowcinema@gmail.com). The same goes for Paris (I will be commuting back and forth the way I see it at the moment). We could meet up. I would appreciate all kinds of views on Lav Diaz for my book-in-progress!

Venues for Lav Diaz film strand wanted

Now that my thesis is almost on the way to the printer, I can start focusing on other things. After three years of research, I have noticed that the work I have done is, in effect, a solid basis for curating a strand of Lav Diaz’s films at whatever event or film festival. This is not so much about a retrospective, which obviously needs a larger scope and which I’m still hoping to organise in Manila (if I can find a venue!). This is about a specific part of Diaz’s work and his country’s history, so it allows an in-depth focus rather than a broad sweep over Diaz’s entire oeuvre.

In brief, I have an in-depth study of Diaz’s representation of post-trauma in the aftermath of colonialism and dictatorship in my rucksack. I link form and content, that means I focus as much on his now well-known and famous aesthetics as well as on the historical and societal background the films refer to. I also have the films¬†Melancholia (2008),¬†Death in the Land of Encantos (2007), and¬†Florentina Hubaldo, CTE (2012) in my rucksack.

The idea is to travel around with this rucksack and give the audience a chance to get an in-depth view of the prolific filmmaker. I can introduce the film, but also lead panel discussions in regards to this. I’m hoping to set up something in Brussels next year and will also approach the Philippinen B√ľro in Cologne, which screened Diaz’s¬†Norte last year.

If you know of a venue, or know an event this may fit into, please do get in touch via theartsofslowcinema@gmail.com Also, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you want more detailed information about what I have in mind. Oh, and please feel free to spread the word! ūüôā Thank you!

The Art(s) of Slow Cinema in Locarno

A brief post to say that I will be traveling to this year’s Locarno Film Festival. The line-up looks great, and I’m hoping to catch the new Nicolas Pereda film, Los Ausentes, and the latest by Pedro Costa, Horse Money. Lav Diaz’s new film From What Is Before is running in the competition.

After the festival, I will publish some extracts of the interview with Lav Diaz, which I will conduct while in Locarno. It’s probably going to be an edited short version of the full interview, but I will let you know.

If, by any chance, you’re in Locarno from 6 to 10 August, please drop me an email (theartsofslowcinema@gmail.com), and perhaps we can meet up for a coffee (well, caffeine-free tea, for extra slowness) and have a slow talk about slow films.

Looking forward to it! By the way, excitement isn’t good for slowness. It ruins everything!

Slow Cinema in the News (February 2014)

This blog goes from strength to strength thanks to my readers. The views are now beyond the 10k benchmark, and I have readers from all over the planet. This helps enormously to make people aware of fantastic slow films, and it’s great for me to learn from you. Not all slow films show up in the news. As I mentioned in an earlier post, there is something of a move towards “popular” Slow Cinema. These are films from directors, who you will find everywhere nowadays. I’m hoping to tackle this move with the help of you. It’s been a pleasure so far. But let’s shift to the news of this month:

Nicolas Pereda, slow-film director from Mexico, known for his films¬†Interview with the Earth (reviewed here)¬†and¬†Summer of Goliath, has a new film, which apparently ran at the Berlinale. I must have overlooked it in the programme. The film’s title is¬†Killing Strangers (Matar extra√Īos), and is, in fact, a collaboration with a Danish director. Every year the CPH:DOX festival in Copenhagen encourages a European and a non-European filmmaker to work together. It’s called DOX:LAB. In 2012, it was Pereda and¬†Jacob Secher Schulsinger. The trailer looks wonderful. Not that I expect something else with Pereda. Here you can read an interview with Pereda and Schulsinger.

Without an official release date yet (as far as I know),¬†Lisandro Alonso’s¬†new film¬†Untitled Lisandro Alonso Project has already attracted a sales company, namely Mexican based NDM. They have acquired world sales rights. NDM also holds the rights to¬†Carlos Reygadas’¬†latest film¬†Post Tenebras Lux.

The 16e Festival du Film Asiatique de Deauville (France), which is to take place from 5-9 March, has special screenings for Tsai Ming-liang, as an homage to him and his work. They will screen his latest feature Stray Dogs, Goodbye Dragon Inn, and What Time is it there?

Tsai’s¬†Journey to the West premiered at the Berlinale and, as far as I can see, the reviews were throughout very good. Here you can read an interview with Denis Lavant about working with Tsai. Remaining with Tsai, there’s a two months long retrospective of his work scheduled in Belgium from March to May. They screen gems like¬†I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone and¬†Visage.¬†

In Jerusalem, at the Cinematheque, they organised a retrospective of¬†Fred Kelemen’s work, both as filmmaker and as cinematographer. Amongst the films chosen for this programme, were Tarr’s¬†The Turin Horse, for which Kelemen acted as cinematographer, and his exceptional¬†Frost, which is part of a trilogy. I watched it at the Slow Cinema weekend in Newcastle in 2012, and can only recommend it.¬†

Mexico will be home of Slow Cinema next month. The FICUNAM festival will screen Tsai‘s¬†Journey to the West, the new film¬†The Joy of Man’s Desiring by Denis C√īt√©, Lav Diaz‘s¬†Norte The End of History, Albert Serra‘s Story of my Death, Ben Rivers‘ new film A Spell to Ward off the Darkness,¬†and finally we have the two slow suspects Costa da Morte by Lois Patino and Manakanama by¬†Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez. Slow paradise?

Finally, a few videos for you:

Intriguing interview with Denis C√īt√© about his film¬†Bestiaire. You can, in fact, watch a couple of his earlier films on his personal vimeo page. I wanted to link to a YouTube video. Lav Diaz’s¬†Century of Birthing appeared on the platform. But it has been removed. Culture – deleted. What more is there to say!?

Slow Cinema in the News – January 2014

Here’s a brief rundown of news from this month. I tend to tweet these things, but I think it’s a good idea to summarise it all once a month. Better for you, and for me.

The first stills from Tsai Ming-liang’s new film, Journey to the West, have appeared online.¬†They are few, but they look SO good. Very photographic. And much similar to¬†Walker, as expected. You can find the stills here.

Journey to the West – New Film by Tsai Ming-liang

That said, The Cinema Guild has acquired the right to Tsai’s¬†Stray Dogs. Fantastic news. This means that we will have the pleasure of having yet another Tsai DVD at home.

Carlos Reygadas has received two nominations for this year’s Cinema Tropical Awards.¬†Post Tenebras Lux¬†is nominated in the category Best Film, while Reygadas himself is nominated for Best Director. Good luck!

Irish filmmaker Pat Collins, who made the beautiful slow film¬†Silence, shows his new film, Living in a¬†Coded Land, at the Dublin Film Festival. I hope it will make its way to the UK. It was a pain to get a copy of¬†Silence – only sold in and distributed within Ireland. Here’s what Collins said about his film:

‚ÄúFor this film, I‚Äôm most interested in topics like the legacy and impact of colonialism, privilege, the residue of paganism, our disconnection from and our connection to the land. But the task is to create unexpected links between the past and the present, to look at the past to illuminate the present.‚ÄĚ

Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul and other independent Thai filmmakers have launched their own sales company, Mosquito Films Distributions. Aim is it to increase the visibility of Thai film in the film circuit. Good news: the omnibus feature Tsai contributed to, Letters from the South, is in their hands.

Denis C√īt√©, whom I have mentioned in this blog in relation to his film¬†Bestiaire, also has a new film, which is to premier at the Berlinale. Title:¬†Joy of Man’s Desiring. Stills and a trailer have emerged, and it looks intriguing. Very similar to¬†Bestiaire¬†in a way. I really like this type of filmmaking.

The Joy of Man’s Desiring – New Film by Denis C√īt√©

Apart from this, Slow Cinema is having a good start of the year with films at Göteburg, Rotterdam, Glasgow, Tromsö, Portland and Berlin. As far as I can see, there are a lot of newcomers on the slow horizon, especially in Rotterdam.

Slow Cinema at Rotterdam and Glasgow

The new year starts of nicely for Slow Cinema. The International Film Festival Rotterdam and the Glasgow Film Festival have a range of slow films on offer. If you are around those locations, it’s worth checking their schedules. Here’s a brief overview:

IFFR

Costa da Morte (Coast of Death) – dir¬†Lois Pati√Īo, Spain*

28 Рdir Prasanna Jayakody, Sri Lanka*

Another Hungary Рdir Dénes Nagy, Hungary*

De chair et de lait Рdir Bernard Bloch, France*

Japón Рdir Carlos Reygadas, Mexico

Letters from the South (omnibus) – section dir by Tsai Ming-liang

Norte, The End of History – dir Lav Diaz, Philippines

Prologue to the Great Desaparecido – dir Lav Diaz, Philippines

A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness – dir Ben River, Ben Russell, France/Estonia

Story of my Death – dir Albert Serra, Spain

‘Til Madness Do Us Part¬†– dir Wang Bing, Hongkong*

Slow Cinema

GFF

Harmony Lessons Рdir Emir Baigazin, Kazakhstan*

Norte, The End of History – dir Lav Diaz, Philippines

A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness – dir Ben Rivers, Ben Russell, France/Estonia

The IFFR has started yesterday. The Glasgow Film Festival will run from 20 February 2014 – 2 March 2014. Tickets will go on sale tomorrow.

Films marked with an * are suspected slow films. It sounds as if they would be slow, but I can only really tell once I see them. And this won’t be soon as I’m unfortunately not living near Rotterdam, and for someone who doesn’t live in Glasgow either, the scheduling is a bit unfortunate. I will catch the films one day, though.