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Screening boredom: the history and aesthetics of slow cinema

Ça?layan, Orhan Emre (2014) Screening boredom: the history and aesthetics of slow cinema. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (KAR id:43155)

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This thesis examines Slow Cinema, a stylistic trend within contemporary art cinema, although one with a longer pre-history. Its distinguishing characteristics pertain

ultimately to narration: the films, minimalistic by design, retard narrative pace and elide causality. Specifically, its aesthetic features include a mannered use of the long take and a resolute emphasis on dead time; devices fostering a mode of narration that initially appears baffling, cryptic and genuinely incomprehensible and offers, above all, an extended experience of duration on screen. This contemporary current emerges from a historical genealogy of modernist art films that for decades distended cinematic

temporality and, furthermore, from the critical and institutional debates that attended to it. This thesis, therefore, investigates Slow Cinema in its two remarkable aspects: firstly, as an aesthetic practice, focusing on the formal aspects of the films and their function in attaining a contemplative and ruminative mode of spectatorship; and, secondly, as a historical critical tradition and the concomitant institutional context of the films’ mode of exhibition, production and reception. As the first sustained work to treat Slow Cinema both as an aesthetic mode and as a critical discourse with historical roots and a Janus-faced disposition in the age of digital technologies, this thesis argues that the Slow Cinema phenomenon can best be understood via an investigation of an aesthetic experience based on nostalgia, absurd humour and boredom, key concepts that will be explored in respective case studies. My original contribution to knowledge is, therefore, a comprehensive account of a global current of cultural practice that offers a radical and at times paradoxical reconsideration of our emotional attachment and intellectual engagement with moving images.The introduction chapter begins with a discussion of the Slow Cinema debate and then establishes the aims of the thesis, its theoretical framework and elaborates on the adopted methodologies, namely formal analysis and aesthetic historiography. Chapter 2 examines Béla Tarr in light of the evolution of the long take and attributes Tarr’s use of this aesthetic device as a nostalgic revision of modernist art cinema. Chapter 3 explores the films of Tsai Ming-liang, which embrace incongruous aesthetic features, envision an absurdist view of life, create humour through duration and are situated within the minimalist trends of the international film festival circuit. Chapter 4 focuses on Nuri Bilge Ceylan, whose films emerge from the aftermath of the collapse of a domestic film industry and intervene into its historical heritage by adopting fundamental features of boredom as well as transforming its idleness into an

aesthetically rewarding experience. The conclusion chapter incorporates the case studies by stressing the role of Slow Cinema within the complex negotiations taking place

between indigenous filmmaking practices and the demands of global art cinema audiences as well as the circulation of art films through networks of film festivals and their respective funding bodies.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Additional information: This work has been developed and published as "Poetics of Slow Cinema: Nostalgia, Absurdism, Boredom" and will be published in November by Palgrave. Information can be found in the following link:
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Economics
Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Depositing User: Clair Waller
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2014 08:25 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2021 12:56 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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