Are you making slow films?

I went to the latest exhibition at the DCA, Dundee, today. There will be new rules next week is a display of illustration works by Sister Corita Kent, combined with artworks by Peter Davies, Ruth Ewan, Emily Floyd, Scott Myles and Ciara Phillips. They had three video works on display, too, in which Kent discussed her approach to art. Surprisingly to me, she also spoke about slowness in her work. I want to give you an extract from an interview that had been conducted with her:

GALM: Do you ever purposely slow down the viewer, so that they will actually read what you’ve chosen?

CORITA: Well, this has been one of the nice by-products, I think. I don’t think I intended it that way in the first place because I think when I’m writing the words, I am some- what conscious of the legibility. That is, if I know it really can’t be read, I’ll go back and change a word. But if it’s just slightly difficult, I think that’s okay — if it looks good. So that those things, I suppose, are of equal concern — that it look good, and that it be legible, at least with some work. But I don’t try to make it difficult.

You could pose the same question to a slow-film director. What would he answer, do you think?

Lav Diaz said in an interview:

In Ebolusyon [Evolution of a Filipino Family], I am capturing real time. I am trying to experience what these people are experiencing. They walk. I must experience their walk. I must experience their boredom and sorrows.

After the release of his last film, The Turin Horse, Béla Tarr said:

With “Damnation”, for example, if you’re a Hollywood studio professional, you could tell this story in 20 minutes. It’s simple. Why did I take so long? Because I didn’t want to show you the story. I wanted to show this man’s life.

And Apichatpong Weerasethakul said:

Time is very interesting to me. Because I’m really trying to capture time, mostly in the past, and work it out in the present. For example, when you have the scene in Blissfully Yours where they go to the picnic and it takes so long—the film was made in 2002, and when I watched it in 2005 or 2006, I thought, “Wow, my time back then, I was really patient.” Because I take the long duration for each gesture. And I realized my time has changed. The rhythm inside has changed. Because when I was younger, I didn’t feel that those shots were long, that’s why I put them in. But then recently, in 2012, I watched Blissfully Yours again and the cut is just right. It’s not long at all. So that means that our timings, it’s always changing.

Somehow I get the feeling that they’re all in the same boat. Just not exactly in a slow boat…

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