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28 November 2018: Slow Short Film Festival, Part 1


The Slow Short Film Festival (SSFF) is an annual festival celebrating works that employ an art cinema aesthetic that has emerged over the past three decades. The aesthetics of Slow Cinema can be broadly characterised by a combination of long takes and long shots, a use of non-professional actors and a focus on everyday activities. Leading figures include Béla Tarr, Lav Diaz, Chantal Akerman, Tsai Ming-Liang, Abbas Kiarostami, Pedro Costa, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Ben Rivers. Though a number of slow films reach gargantuan lengths, some exceeding 10 hours, slow films more generally have running times comparable with mainstream productions, suggesting that it is the film’s form and content, rather than its length, that make it slow. With this in mind, SSFF exhibits short films (under 45 minutes) that engage with the principles of slow cinema.

Featuring films from Portugal, the US, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia and North Korea, this programme illustrates an important element of the slow aesthetic: it has emerged near-simultaneously around the world. Partly due to advancements in technology which have vastly accelerated film distribution and exhibition, this global scope also appears to be the result of an increasing homogenisation of experience at the end of the twentieth century and beginning of the twenty-first. Whether in North America, Asia, or Europe, people are all dealing with the same issues of labour and alienation. These filmmakers adopt slowness both to better interrogate the mechanisms of this universal status quo and to resist it.

High Cities of Bone
Joäo Salaviza
2017 | 18’59 min | Colour | Digital
Portugese with English subtitles

Karlon, born in Pedreira dos Húngaros (a slum on the outskirts of Lisbon) and a pioneer of Cape Verdean Creole rap, runs away from the housing project to which he had been relocated. Nights of vigil are spent under a sweltering tropical heat. Among the sugarcanes, a murmur is heard. Karlon hasn't stopped singing.

How do you Thirst?
Joshua Gleason
2016 | 23’16 min | Colour | Digital

A dialogue-free meditation set amid a growing water crisis, a lonely Japanese woman living abroad takes in a stranger whom she finds passed out in the stairwell of her apartment complex.

Investigations of a Dog
Aleksandra Niemczyk
2017 | 25 min | B/W & Colour | Digital
Croatian with English subtitles

A young man lies down by a river in a polluted, industrial town, apparently resigned to death. Exposed to the hospitality of an older couple who find him, he discovers new purpose in assuaging their loneliness – but they, too, have their limits. Featuring non-professional actors and their own, uniquely furnished flat, which has not been dressed in any way by the filmmakers. 

One and Many
Jonas Bak
2017 | 25 min | B/W | Digital
Khmer with English subtitles

A fly is trapped behind a window. A man lives in a new city. People’s worlds are crammed together, yet they are galaxies apart. Flies are drawn to a streetlight. Alone and together. One and many.

90 Seconds in North Korea
Ranko Paukovic
2018 | 14’48 min | Colour | Digital

Lovers riding on bicycles through the forest, school children crossing the street, men playing football on the beach, women playing in the shallows with inflatable toys, a father carrying his young child. This is the other side of North Korean life, a world away from the army parades, paranoid leaders, oppression and fear.

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