The Art(s) of Slow Cinema

The Art(s) of Slow Cinema

When writing my book on Slow Cinema, I found myself time and again drawn to films coming from Asia. There is something very specific about them: their density, their observation of fast-paced changes, their portraits of what it means to be human today differs from films from other continents. Perhaps, it is the documentary character to most of them. Perhaps, it is because countries such as China, see the most rapid (and therefore also brutal) development in living memory. Filmmakers respond to this with observing the changes, recording them for future generations and posing vital questions as to how much a human being and a society can take. —Nadin Mai

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The Art(s) of Slow Cinema
  • Before the Flood I

    Directed by LI Yifan and Yan Yu • Documentary • 2005 • 147 minutes

    A landmark documentary following the residents of the historic city of Fengjie as they clash with the officials forcing them to evacuate their homes to make way for the world's largest dam.

    China's Three Gorges Dam, the largest...

  • Before The Flood II - Gong Tan

    Directed by YAN Yu • Documentary • 2008 • 60 minutes

    Yan Yu follows his groundbreaking documentary BEFORE THE FLOOD with this profile of the residents of Gongtan, a 1700-year-old village soon to be demolished by a hydroelectric dam project.

    Gongtan, a historic village located on a tributary of ...

  • Mental (Observational Film #2)

    Directed by Kazuhiro Soda • Documentary • 2008 • 135 minutes

    MENTAL is a documentary that observes the complex world of an outpatient mental health clinic Chorale Okayama in Japan, interwoven with patients, doctors, staff, volunteers, and home-helpers.

    "To draw the curtain between normality and...

  • Oxhide II

    Directed by Liu Jiayin • Drama • With Liu Jiayin, Huifen Jia, Zaiping Liu • 2012 • 132 minutes

    Breaking new ground in cinematic art, Liu Jiayin's follow-up to her masterful debut OXHIDE turns a simple dinner into a profoundly intimate study of family relationships.

    Building on the stunning visi...

  • Spark

    Directed by Hu Jie • Documentary • 2019 • 114 minutes

    SPARK opens by the side of a road in Lanzhou City, northwestern China, as trucks rumble through a blasted hillside. An elderly man walks along the dusty road and pauses to point to a nearby spot—the former execution grounds. “They executed ma...

  • Bitter Money

    Directed by Wang Bing • Documentary • 2016 • 152 minutes

    The people in Wang Bing's BITTER MONEY lie in filthy, cramped apartments, stare at their phones for far too long, spend time on their balconies overlooking drab streets in which all the buildings look the same, and work long hours for litt...

  • Ta'ang

    Directed by Wang Bing • Documentary • 2016 • 147 minutes

    Director Wang Bing brings his careful eye to the mountainous border-region of northeastern Myanmar in Ta’ang, a powerful and revealing observational documentary that follows members of the Ta’ang minority as they flee to China to escape an...

  • Egg and Stone

    Directed by Huang Ji • Drama • With Xiao Pin-gao, Liu Xiao-lin, Yao Hong-gui, Yixiang Huang, Baiyu Yao • 2016 • 98 minutes

    Huang Ji's brave personal film is one of the most auspicious debuts in recent Chinese cinema. Set in her home village in rural Hunan province, EGG AND STONE is a powerful au...

  • Ghost Town

    Directed by Zhao Dayong • Documentary • 2012 • 169 minutes

    A remote village in southwest China is haunted by traces of its cultural past while its residents piece together their existence.

    Zhiziluo is a town barely clinging to life. Tucked away in a rugged corner of Yunnan Province, Lisu and Nu...

  • By the Time It Gets Dark

    Directed by Anocha Suwichakornpong • Drama • With Visra Vichit-Vadakan, Arak Amornsupasiri, Achtara Suwan • 2017 • 105 minutes

    A shape-shifting narrative around memory, politics and cinema, the film weaves together the stories of several characters. We meet a young waitress serving breakfast at...