From hesitation to resistance: slow world cinemas' transnational politics

Chen, Hui-Han (2021). From hesitation to resistance: slow world cinemas' transnational politics. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The emergence of contemporary slow world cinemas and their formal aesthetics – the use of long shots and long takes, de-dramatisation and the attentive observation of everydayness – have been read as nostalgic evocations of European cinematic canon of realism and modernism. This Eurocentric type of reading, on the one hand, facilitates the circulation of contemporary slow world cinemas within the global film festival and cinephilic circuits; on the other hand, it also runs the risk of reducing the diverse cultural specificities displayed in a world of representations of cinematic slowness to purely formulaic and teleological universality. In response, this thesis adopts Jiaoyou (Stray Dogs, Tsai Ming-liang, 2013), Japón (Carlos Reygadas, 2002), Yi Yi (A One and a Two..., Edward Yang, 2000) and La soledad (Solitary Fragments, Jaime Rosales, 2007) as case studies to repurpose slow world cinemas’ formal aesthetics as, rather than a universalist strategy, a coincidence of hesitation that leads to a consensus of resistance against the homogenising force of globalisation and the hegemony of capitalist society and neoliberal modernity. This thesis further adopts The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn, 2019) in a coda as a standpoint, or even counterpoint, to interrogate an ethical dilemma that lies in this transformation of coincidental hesitation into consensual resistance. Besides recognising that the theories of Gilles Deleuze, Henri Bergson and André Bazin provide productive readings of cinematic slowness, this thesis also brings into dialogue the existing scholarship on slow cinema, the de-Westernisation of film studies, Transnational Cinema and World Cinema to not only elaborate on but also reconfigure these theorists’ established frameworks. Finally, this thesis demonstrates that a world of slow cinemas’ resistant tendency, which addresses the detrimental impacts of modern hegemonic social mechanisms in different sociopolitical and geopolitical contexts, can facilitate the dissemination of a localised, vernacular sensibility with the aim of achieving a transnational empathy – an empathy that recognises and interconnects, rather than distills, filters and homogenises, a world of different voices.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and Creative Studies, Department of Film and Creative Writing
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR


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