I’m watching old Soviet movies, and gosh, people really had no instant gratification issues. Every movie starts with long, unhurried credits that you had to sit through quietly if you wanted to see the picture.
I’m refusing to fast-forward because I’m trying to improve my focus and that means developing high tolerance of boredom.
Of course, that gas station cold medicine put paid to any efforts in the direction of focus for hours.
4 thoughts on “Delayed Gratification”
The same thing can be said for old American movies. Ever watch Great Escape, which is considered an “action” movie? It is a fantastic movie but there is no way that film would be made today because modern audiences would consider it too slow. It has character, suspense, and humor, but there are not a lot of bangs. This is besides the fact that the movie is about a bunch of (presumably straight) white men.
I like those movies, though. Strobe effect triggers migraines– films made after the industry discovered all those nice attention-grabbing fast-cut-editing, go go go flashy-light tricks are completely unwatchable. I have literally walked out of the theater and puked on the ground, after a silly action movie.
Older movies– late enough that they aren’t flickery/jerky just from the slow frame rate, but early enough they hadn’t done the studies on attention yet– are the best movies! There are some more recent movies that deliberately don’t do that stuff and employ long takes with very subtle light shifts, and I’ve enjoyed a few of those also. But there’s a lot of pretentious crap mixed in there too. It’s frustrating trying to find the dividing line between them, and it’s rare to find a movie review that directly addresses the problem of short vs. long cuts, or lighting effects. I recall enjoying the (Taiwanese?) movie Yi Yi, many years ago, because it’s like three hours long and filmed largely with still cameras and long cuts. Still can’t decide if it is a good movie or pretentious, but it was such a novel experience, being able to watch a long movie without spending the next three days popping painkillers and hiding in a dark room.
Some people I know say things like this on the subject of British and European electronic music of the late 1990s and early 2000s …
“These songs take a long time to get going.”
“It’s like they’re adding one instrument at a time until they reach a full orchestra.”
“The tempo is just so incredibly slow.”
It’s like they can’t handle the ambient environment anymore, that there’s no place for calculated silences, and so they want the spaces filled with something.
Have a listen to “Black Milk” by Massive Attack.
It fills in eventually, but it’s so, so slow on purpose compared to what’s playing now.
It’s the same with parts of “Dissolved Girl” which got more airplay because of being in one of the Matrix movies.
“𝅘𝅥𝅮 … fade, made to fade, passion’s overrated anyway … 𝅘𝅥𝅮” 🙂
Yet some of this has been forcibly made retro.
I’m listening to this late 1990s song right now by Yoshinori Sunahara called “Sony Romantic Electro Wave” that’s a bit before its time, especially since it blends steel pans and electronic instruments, but it has that slower tempo.
“This is like lo-fi girl stuff but even slower.”
Yeah, from 1999, but it’s actually a retro recollection of a theme from the 1970s.
Tried watching Nobuhiko Obayashi’s “House” with someone like this a while back.
Moved too slow for them to get it.
I’m with methylethyl though: “Avatar” was so horrid in 3D that I was physically ill and had to take a taxi home after watching it.
After that I ordered a set of NO-3D glasses that would flatten the effects because it seemed that if there’s a choice between 3D and 2D at the movie theatres, 3D always wins out.
I’ve also decided not to make the move to Blu-Ray until I’m forced to do it, and even then I’ll just break the copy protection and rip the media to something resembling PAL or SECAM analogue standard with stereo sound.
The software’s already loaded and we use it to convert DVDs for now so we don’t have to deal with which DVD players are or aren’t multi-region players.
Why not 4K or even 1080p? Both blur the necessary critical distance between experiencing a film as a film and experiencing it as a type of simulated experience.
You don’t really get how the present-day environment is full of engineered informational hazards until you discover one stealthily attached to the stem of a fundamental idea.
I also hold on to that Blank Reg ideal of insisting that all of the TVs in the Max Headroom simulated experience should have functional power switches.
So yes, we’re going into an “accelerated age”, but how much of the acceleration is crap?
Watching the old Soviet war films, two series that I recently watched were Liberation and The Battle of Moscow (both on the Mosfilm YouTube site) was a fascinating exercise in myth making and propaganda. I think that I now have some insight, maybe just a bit, into the myths behind Russian thinking about themselves.
Thanks for the post Clarissa