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Widescreen: slow cinema

A slow film can be just as gripping as a big-budget, crash-bang blockbuster—as long as you are prepared to meet it halfway

By Mark Cousins   August 2010

Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist makes a virtue of restraint

A skirmish has broken out among film lovers. In February this year, Jonathan Romney, film critic of the -Independent, wrote an article in the magazine Sight & Sound about the type of “slow cinema” that is the staple of film festivals these days. This is “varied strain of austere minimalist cinema” that, Romney argued, “downplays event in favour of mood, evocativeness and an intensified sense of temporality.” It’s an approach embodied by the work of the new Romanians, of the Mexican Carlos -Reygadas, of Tsai Ming-liang in Taiwan, Hungary’s Béla Tarr,…

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