Unspoken Cinema 2012 banner

Saturday, October 21, 2006

contemplative cinema blogathon

Let's talk about "boring art films"

I'd like to call for a blogathon on contemplative cinema, the kind that rejects conventional narration to develop almost essentially through minimalistic visual language and atmosphere, without the help of music, dialogue, melodrama, action-montage, and star system. Contributors are invited to pick a film or an auteur fitting this (undefined) profile, or to ponder over the general characteristics, roots, aesthetics, significance of this emerging trend in contemporean art films. Feel free to chime in and help define this nebulous "genre" in the comments. It requires a new form of criticism because a capsule summary is usually detrimental and misrepresentative of what the film has to offer. I often find myself at loss when confronted with the description of a film where nothing is happening. How could we best give justice to these films that defeat all codes of cinema history we've been conditionned to detect and connect with?

Without imposing a final exhaustive list before the discussion, a few names to illustrate the type of films in question and to help whoever is not familiar yet to draw correspondances :
  • Bela Tarr, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Pedro Costa, Saruna Bartas, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Carlos Reygadas, Tsai Ming-liang, Aktan Abdykalykov, Bruno Dumont, Elia Suleiman, Lisandro Alonso, Aleksandr Sokurov ... (wordless and plotless?)
  • Jia Zhang-ke, Aki Kaurismaki, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Wong Kar-wai, Hong Sang-soo, Lucrecia Martel, Theo Angelopoulos, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Claire Denis, Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Jim Jarmusch ... (contemplative narration?)
  • Marguerite Duras, Michael Snow (conceptual?)
  • And even documentarians : Wang Bing, Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Chantal Akerman, Victor Erice, Raymond Depardon ...
These films catch the critical attention of festivals around the world, every year, but aren't given much exposition or theorized much... So if you feel strongly about "boring art films", positively or negatively, or particularly like one of them, please join this collegial effort to explore, decypher and understand better this cutting edge, marginal cinema.

Maybe we could answer some questions :
  • What is/isn't a Boring Art Film? What have they in common? Is it a coherent family? How should it be (re)named?
  • Why "boredom" is the new "great"? How to champion boredom against entertainment? How to "sell" a "boring film" to the general audience? When does it become actually boring in a bad way?
  • How are these auteurs different from eachother? Is it only a formal/superficial familiarity?
  • Where this trend comes from? Cinematic filiation? Artistic influences?
New deadline : Monday, 8th January 2007.
I also would like to try an experiment to expand the blogathon experience, and open a collective blog for the occasion, during the month of January. So participants will become member-administrator and be able to post new entries.
Either you stick to the classic blogathon rules and crosspost your entry on this collective blog on deadline, or you can visit the blog all month, ask questions, suggest themes to address, add references and comment on the ongoing discussions to collect and share the most critical material around "boring art films" available.
Crossposting all entries is not meant to "steal the thunder" (and comments) each individual bloggers could get on their own blog but hopefully to help focus a productive discussion in one place. Well if this sounds inacceptable, we could always go by the traditional blogathon standard.
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New Contributions to the blogathon : see here

BLOGATHON (rules reminder) :
Every blogger is welcome to join this event and write a post on the topic proposed (here, "boring art films") on the deadline fixed by the organisator/host (HarryTuttle). Simple as that. Thus creating a wealth of articles by various writers focusing on the same idea on the same day, a blogosphere mindstorming, or a thematical special issue in electronic form. Every post participating to the blogathon will be listed and linked here. You may leave a comment to this post to show your interest, or just publish your post on deadline. Don't forget to send me a link to your contribution by email or in the comments. Happy blogathon everyone!
PAST BLOGATHONS in the blogosphere during 2006 here and in 2007 here


The Cinesthete said...


I wrote an article I would like you to consider for the Contemplative Cinema blog-a-thon.

article: Is it Boring Because Its Art? Or is it Art Because Its Boring?

site: ReelFriction

Forgive me for posting here, but I could not find your email address anywhere.

Thank you,

-The Cinesthete

HarryTuttle said...

thank you for your contribution. That's the right place to link to it. Or in the post at the top of the page. Thanks for redirecting your readers to comment here, but since we cannot cross-post contributions here (New post is out of order until debugging by Google-Blogger!) I guess the discussion will take place at each participants blog.

We'll see if it is necessary to start a new blog for the roundtable discussions.