The Aesthetics of Boredom

Slow Cinema and the Virtues of the Long Take in Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

in Projections
Emre Çağlayan University of Kent

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This article examines the relationship between boredom and cinema, particularly by attending to the ways in which it has been used as an aesthetic strategy in contemporary slow films. These films use long takes and dedramatization to create dead time, where narrative causality and progress are abandoned to facilitate contemplative viewing. The article argues that this mode of spectatorship exhibits close affinities to underlying features of boredom, and that filmmakers mute dramatic intensity and foreground idleness and ambiguity for a more aesthetically rewarding cinematic experience. The article explores this question through examining different types of boredom and dedramatization, before concluding with an extended analysis of Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011).

Contributor Notes

Emre Çağlayan completed his PhD in Film at the University of Kent, Canterbury in 2014 and is currently visiting lecturer at the University of Brighton. His thesis examines the history and aesthetics of contemporary slow cinema, taking the films of Béla Tarr, Tsai Ming-liang and Nuri Bilge Ceylan as its most prominent examples.

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