Necessity, fashion or the art of long take?
Accustomed to predominantly American (Hollywood) production, and music videos on TV, contemporary viewers are exposed to great increase in the speed of shot exchange, as well as their number. This fact is supported by an interesting statistical review by David Bordwell. On the other hand, there are more and more directors who build their directorial style on extremely long takes. For example, Taiwanese film River (Tsai Ming-Liang, 1997) has ’barely’ hundred and forty shots, while some (mostly static) shots are so long that they create an extreme feeling of anxiety (of course, some of it also results from the content and other stylistic elements). In the first issue of One Take Film Festival the selection ’Mastery of the Long Take’ was dedicated to feature film and totally outside the United States, screening films by Takesh Kitano, Tsai Ming-Liang, Abbas Kiarostami, and Carlos Reygadas, with the retrospection of films of Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Sokurov’s Russian Arc, screened at the opening of the festival, aside from the program, was characterized by intensive stylisation, while films from the selection were much closer to Bazinian ’realistic’ ideal, and particularly to the modernist heritage of the long take when it appeared as a formal ’frame’ for existential motives, psychological tensions and intimate moods, like, for example in films by Iranian Abbas Kiarostami (Ten, 2002), Mexican Carlos Reygadas (Japan, 2002). Turkish author Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Distant, 2003) and Takeshi Kitano from Japan (Dolls, 2002) also handled similar themes.