I watch a lot of new movies, but I have to admit that cinema has become increasingly less satisfying for some time now. Conventional films dominate, those in which actors do not go beyond the standards of psychological acting, where the lines are artificial and emotions akin to those seen in budget TV series.
In recent years, however, a slow cinema movement has emerged in opposition to increasingly vapid movies. The genre's representatives include the Hungarian Béla Tarr, director of the legendary seven-hour film "Satantango," as well as Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami ("Five"), the American James Benning ("13 Lakes"), Argentinean Lisandro Alonso 'Los Muertos," Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylana ("Once in Anatolia"), Apichatpong Weerasethakul of Thailand ("Cemetery of the Queen "), Taiwanese Tsai Ming-liang ("Walking to the West ") or Jim Jarmusch, whose latest film, "Paterson," is now playing in Polish cinemas, and is an ideal example of slow cinema.
In these films I find what is dear to me in cinema: contemplative, slow rhythm, long shots, almost complete lack of action, silence, monotony, melancholy and a nearly physically perceptible passage of time. These movies do not attack me with a dizzying tempo, fast-paced action, rapid editing, nor an ear-splitting soundtrack. I choose these movies deliberately, I know what to expect on the screen. I mostly watch these films myself. Before the show I try to calm down and focus to make it easier for me to enter the rhythm of the film. I also forget about the outside world and devote the time to give myself over to the film, the encounter with the director, my thoughts and myself. Often these "contemplative films" (also known as film for anglers) use only a few shots and last for 5 to 6 hours. I have no problem with that. I simply stop paying attention to time, and the show becomes a kind of inner journey, during which I experience deep calm, peace and concentration.
The simplicity and minimalism of these films contain the deepest truths about the world and life. Unlike most contemporary films, they speak of passing, loneliness, death, primordial fears and atavisms, they provide close-ups of real people (because they're often played by amateur actors). This cinema does not chase current fads nor is it the result of marketing calculations. Its strength is the naturalness and simplicity of their contemplative nature.
It is precisely this need to emphasize the uniqueness of each work of art and the need for uniqueness in experiencing art that led me to the region of Podlasie (I know I'm not the only one). Specifically, it led to the town of Suprasl, where for three summer months there will run a lazy festival of slowness, with its mix of art, food and nature. This will be an alternative for people tired of big festivals offering five movies or seven concerts a day; those where there is no time to talk, think, ponder, think, deepen relationships. Where we all just skim the surface, looking for 'more and faster'. The Podlasie festival is for people overwhelmed by the plethora of possibilities, multitude of media and the attendant communication chaos. It is for those living in a world of constant consumption, in which we have long forgotten what it is to anticipate something and then enjoy it when it comes. I await this festival with great curiosity.
Przekrój Issue 2 (3557) / 17