polski
After 15th edition
Festival Spotlight
30 July 2015
30.07 - Slow, slower, slowest

Ian Haydn Smith

EDITOR, CURZON MAGAZINE

Slow cinema is a style of filmmaking that frequently employs long takes, a contemplative pace and an elliptical approach to narrative.

It demands patience from audiences but can often be rewarding, transformative even, allowing us space and time to look at the world anew.

Slow does not necessarily mean long, although in the case of Lav Diaz, whose films often run upwards of five hours, it's best to have a full meal and empty your bladder before attending a screening. His latest, "From What is Before", details the days leading up to the introduction of martial law in the Philippines, in 1972.

Diaz gradually draws us into his world, his gaze focusing on every aspect of daily life, underpinning the fact that it would soon be irrevocably changed.

The films of Šarūnas Bartas, receiving a retrospective at this year's festival, are no less dense, but significantly shorter, than Diaz's.

His oblique narratives, as exemplified by his feature debut "Three Days" (1991), are often free of dialogue and shy away from commenting on the worlds he presents. We are left to decide what message, if any, is being conveyed.

But like Diaz, Bartas employs a series of striking visual tableaux that beg us to ruminate on each image and giving us the time to do so.

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