Slow Cinema on Tumblr

The Art(s) of Slow Cinema has made its snail way to Tumblr. This will not replace this website at all. Fear not! I keep returning to the photographic beauty of specific shots in slow films, and I’m also generally a visual person. I tend to include a few screenshots in my film reviews, but I’d like to give you a slightly broader view of the film’s aesthetics. I have therefore started a Tumblr page, linked to this blog, which will be used entirely for visuals. At the moment there are two photo sets of Lav Diaz’s Death in the Land of Encantos and Melancholia, but more will follow in snail time. No rush.

That said, if you have a profile on Tumblr, please feel free to follow this new slow baby of mine. I will upload my own screenshots, so what will appear on my Tumblr page may not be found on Google images. Ha, I may create exclusive content just for you! 🙂

Finally, before I forget it, I should give you the link to my Slow Cinema page. Please click here.

Happy Slow Year 2014

Here it is, the New Year. I hope you all had a lovely Hogmanay and New Year’s day in your respective countries around the world. I also hope that you have some significant New Year’s resolutions, such as “I won’t live in the fast lane anymore”. Being a snail is so much better, and strangely enough, so much more efficient, says the one who used to do everything fast in order to manage more work. It’s an illusion. Slow is the new fast (and the new efficiency).

Last year was a good year for slow film. I’m sure that 2014 will bring more gems to the surface. I’m hoping to see Tsai Ming-liang’s Stray Dogs, Albert Serra’s Story of my Death and then there is still Lav Diaz’s Norte which I’m hoping to see on a big screen. There is also the Untitled Lisandro Alonso Project which was originally scheduled for this year.

Those are the big players in Slow Cinema, though. I discovered several new slow-film directors last year, and I’m keen on and confident about finding more this year. Some of you recommended films to me already. I appreciate it. Feel free to recommend more. I’m always happy to expand my slow horizon. I’m looking forward to all the festival announcement and dig into the trailers of the selected films. And then the hunt for films will start all over again.

As for New Year resolutions: I want to get my hands on filmmaking again, though not on anything major. My last post ended with a five-minute video of a candle. It was inspired by the YouTube channel Ten Minutes of Your Life, and my research into Slow Cinema. My aim is it to get a feel for what the filmmakers are doing, enduring, and perhaps even seeing what we might not see. I want to get a practical eye for Slow Cinema, which will inevitably influence my overall research. Not necessarily my thesis work, but my general research output (one day…).

There will be more videos of this kind on this blog. Or rather on a new blog. The videos will not all be photographic, beautiful or have an interesting subject. I merely want to experiment with different things to get a feeling for slow-film making. I know that there is a difference between making a slow feature film, and making a slow five-minutes video. But you need to start somewhere.

Even though I will primarily post the videos on Five Slow Minutes, I will nevertheless reblog some of them on this blog. I just don’t want to run the risk of mixing theory with practice. It’s best if I have two platforms for it.

That said: a Happy New Year to you all. Wishing you all the best in 2014. And always remember: take it slow!

There is more to life than increasing its speed. (Ghandi)

Day 4 – Daughter…Father…Daughter (Rezaee)

Day four allowed me to leave the cramped Chinese apartment. Instead I moved to an era of Iran I thought never existed. If anything, we do not imagine Iran to be country of magnificent landscapes. Panahbarkhoda Rezaee’s film Daughter…Father…Daughter (2011) displays this strikingly.

The film is exactly what I call Slow Cinema; a slow narrative film with striking landscapes in the background, and a cinematographer who definitely has a photographic eye. I was debating with myself how best to write about this film, and I’m keen on showing you the beauty rather than writing about it. So this will be fairly short today.

Daughter...Father...Daughter, Rezaee
Daughter…Father…Daughter, Rezaee

Daughter… tells the story of three sisters living in a remote area of Iran with their father, whose house functions more or less as a small petrol station for people nearby. He’s old and frail. The economic situation is difficult, the petrol prices are on the rise. The four characters live in utter isolation, and it seems as though the television set they have in the house is the only connection to the outside world. And a small form of entertainment, though we mostly hear the news via an off-screen voice about political and economical turmoils.

Particularly striking in the film is the use of colour, or no colour at all. I’m still not entirely sure how to approach this. Initially I thought that the film was shot in (beautiful!) black-and-white. To me, this is the most wonderful use of black-and-white I have seen so far in a slow film. It is used to great effect especially because we’re in an area that is covered with thick layers of snow. So grayscale works well. However, when we are inside the house, I’m not so sure about the black-and-white anymore. It sometimes looks as if the director has chosen to use a very limited colour palette for indoor shootings. I’m pretty sure that the blanket one of the sister uses while watching TV is of red colour, as dull as the red is.

Interestingly enough, information from DreamLab Films reveal that the film is indeed shot in colour. This means that the director has done a remarkable job with lighting, and I wonder how exactly he has managed this in the middle of nowhere. Rezaee’s new film A Cradle for Mother (2013) premiered at the Moscow International Film Festival in June, and appears to have an anti rely different aesthetics. It may not even be slow. But this one definitely is. And it’s a beauty!

More screenshots:

Daughter...Father...Daughter, Rezaee
Daughter…Father…Daughter, Rezaee
Daughter...Father...Daughter, Rezaee
Daughter…Father…Daughter, Rezaee
Daughter...Father...Daughter, Rezaee
Daughter…Father…Daughter, Rezaee
Daughter...Father...Daughter, Rezaee
Daughter…Father…Daughter, Rezaee

The Side-Effects of Slow Cinema Studies

Out of the blue, my partner wondered this morning whether he was becoming slower in his brains. In the same context, he mentioned his viewing of slow films with me. I had some questions about my development, too, and I may have found the answers right there.

Now, before I go into a bit more detail, I have to be fair and say that I have had a few problems processing particularly fast things in the last couple of years. For those who have briefly checked the other blog I had up for a few weeks, PTSD doesn’t allow me to process information fast. The faster they come, the more angry and the more confused I get. Slow Cinema is bliss in this context.

Putting this aside, though, I have wondered lately whether I wasn’t becoming even slower. When I zap into a comedy show on TV, I have some severe problems sometimes to catch the dialogue. This is perhaps not only due to the speed, with which they speak. It is perhaps also in part due to the reluctance of my ears, which have become lazy. My eyes do all the job. Slow Films have little dialogue, the power often lies in the images themselves. Moreover, I have become so used to reading subtitles that my ears don’t really need to do much anymore.

Snail Brain

It could be that comedy shows are meant to be slightly faster, in speech at least. For entertainment purposes, and jokes don’t work if they come out slow. But I have started to encounter the same problems in what you would call “normal” films as well as in everyday conversations, though the latter really depends. I can have a normal conversation about the weather, but if you try to steer me to something more complex I need a while to think, and to process what’s actually wanted from me. This hasn’t been the case five years ago. I tend to catch snippets nowadays, and then I try to make sense of the few snippets I have heard.

Again, I do not think that my Slow Cinema studies are solely responsible for this, but it surely must have an influence on my thought process. Slowness is meant to slow you down anyway, hence the name. So I’m not complaining at all (remember the hare and the turtle!). What I think becomes the more obvious the longer I study Slow Cinema (and my brains’ reaction to it) is how fast the world around me really is. We go with the flow, we have grown into it from day one we joined the others on this planet. Yet you only ever realise that you’re on the high-speed lane when you attempt to slow down and nothing or no one is following you anymore.
If there were scientists who are interested in the effects of slowness on our sensory perceptions (maybe even looking into the changes in our brains), I’d be happy to volunteer as a guinea pig. It makes me really curious. Well, the curiosity is increasing slowly, obviously.