Showing posts from October, 2006


It is common among directors, when asked why is it that they make movies, to answer: "Because I have stories and I want to tell them". And that simple answer explains the richness of plot and devices through which it is executed. But it fails to cover another field of (modern) cinema, namely contemplative film. As Harry suggested, it can be subgrouped, in terms of narrativity, in "contemplative narration" and "non-narrative contemplation", but again, I wonder, isn't it plot that is spoken of in these definitions? Plot is the sequence of events that can be summarised but it is the narrative through which this plot is fulfilled. Narrativity is something broader - it could be plot, in its primal meaning, but it is also the sense, the pre-notion of plot that could never finish itself into a complete story. Narrativity speculates about the possibility of a plot and does not deal with events but movements, gestures and details that are encompassed in a sto

The State of Cinema (M. Ciment)

For keeps : the online page disappeared. At the 46th San Francisco International Film Festival (2003) Michel Ciment: The State of Cinema The State of Cinema address, delivered by guest programmer Michel Ciment at the 46th San Francisco International Film Festival If the title of this address sounds portentous, I will immediately downplay it by stressing that my speech will express a very subjective viewpoint nourished by my 40- year-old involvement in film criticism, festival attendance and of course, reading experts and speaking with them. One of the striking features of the state of cinema at any time is to see how the atlas of cinema is ever changing. If we look at the map of the film world, we will see that the red zone of intense creativity, the gray zones of intermittent presence and the white zones of desertification have witnessed enormous variations if we look at them in the ‘60s, for instance, or today. Forty years ago Eastern European countries, Italy, later Germany, offered


Find the updated bibliography here

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 conne


Tentative Chronology for (BROAD) Contemplative Cinema Maybe the term " Contemplative Cinema " is a little nebulous and confusing, but hopefully the following films give a better idea of what is this sort of trend, opposed to conventional narration. This tentative list doesn't cover all territories and aspects yet, so please edit/correct/add any complementary information to the list. ( in red : strict model , see the minimum profile here , and the genealogy map here ) quickscroll : 1960 - 1970 - 1980 - 1990 - 2000 - 2010 7 sub-families of C.C.C. ( Contemporary Contemplative Cinema ) with their figureheads : [A] Contemplative Documentary (Lumière-Sokurov-Benning) [B] Non-Actors (Flaherty-Costa) [C] Contemplative Mundanity (Tsai-Bartas) [D] Laconic Conversation (Tarkovsky-Jancso-Tarr) [E] Mainstream Contemplation (Angelopoulos-Wong Kar wai) [F] Stylized Contemplation (Kaurismaki-Andersson) [G] Fantasized Contemplation (Barney) 1895 L'Arr

Roundtable 6

Roundtable 6 template

Team Blog

January 2007 will be dedicated to Contemplative Cinema. The synchronized blogathon will start on Monday, January 8, but everyone can start discussing now and until posts are welcome until the end of January. Hopefully to extend the duration of the blogathon on this collective-blog will allow to spread the contributions and faciliate the parallel discussions. Happy New Year everyone! This blogathon is opened to everyone, drop a note for membership request and you'll be able to cross-post your entries here. Tell your friends around. Whether you like what we call "contemplative cinema" or not, every perspective is welcome. From the point of view of aesthetics or technique or narration or screenwriting or performance or content. Participants are invited to argue the legitimacy of the phrase "contemplative cinema", this is a work-in-progress since the notion of contemplation in contemporean cinema is not well defined and can be perceived differently by the audience.

Straub-Huillet : Sicilia

Exerpt from an interview with Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub from the Jean-Charles Fitoussi's documentary : Sicilia! Si gira (2001/Fitoussi) Interviewer : After Kafka ; Amerika ; Sicila ; The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach ; are you conscious to make a more difficult movie [ Operai, contadini ]? Jean-Marie Straub: "More difficult" it's not pure hardline, it's something else. The one we are about to film [ Il Ritorno del figlio prodigo - Umiliati ?] will be extremely easy and will please the audience. Danièle Huillet : it's obviously easier because it's scripted Interviewer : So why is this one easier than the others? JMS : I tried to say it, a film with a rhythm going 4 times slower ... DH : ... and that deals with boring people with a boring speech is a little difficult to pay attention to... JMS: even if it is color and in a forest ... hum... DH: ... sublime JMS: sublime, is not enough. Moreover a film without dialogue, whereas the previous on

Table of Content 2007

BLOGATHON 2007 CONTRIBUTIONS ( General list ) DEFINITION Boring Art Films (Darren Hughes at Long Pauses ) State of Cinema at SFIFF 2004 by Michel Ciment What is contemplative cinema? (Marina at Almayer ) Le Post-Cinéma (Yannick Vély at Film de Culte ) French The Fullness of Minimalism by Yvette Bíró (Rouge #9, 2006) Defining Contemplative Cinema (Bela Tarr) (weepingsam at The Listening Ear ) Minimum Profile (HarryTuttle at Unspoken Cinema) Gilles Deleuze and Contemplative Cinema (Adrian Chan at Unspoken Cinema) What is Contemplating Cinema? (Adrian Chan at Reviews and analysis of significant Films... ) GENERAL REFLEXION Music & Experience as narrative force... (Johanna at The Lone Revue ) Thoughts From an (Experimental?) Documentary Film (Johanna) Time in Akerman's Je, tu, il ...elle (Johanna at The Lone Revue ) towards an exploration of contemplative cinema (cineboy at PilgrimAkimbo ) Contemplative Cinema at the Drive-In: Monte Hellman's Two-Lane Blacktop (T