The Indian Pacific

Scene from the SBS show, The Indian Pacific. PICTURE: SBS

Slow TV and slow cinema - generally defined as a form of movie-making which features very long takes, often little narrative and what can be described as an austere or minimalist approach - has, it seems, gained in popularity over the past few years. Recent TV shows such as BBC Four's two hour long All Aboard! The Canal Trip (as well as other versions focusing on a sleigh ride and a bus ride) and, in Australia, a series of shows on SBS, including the three hour long The Indian Pacific: Australia's Longest Train (with a special 17 hour-long version for true fans), are among the latest productions in a trend which was popularised in the 2000s by Norwegian broadcaster NRK which reached new heights with a 134 hour long live broadcast aboard a cruise ship in 2011. On the big screen, there's reportedly a number of films in production which, like the recent release High Life, are aimed at mainstream audiences and feature some of the hallmarks of slow cinema - stillness and long, static takes. UK academic Andrew Russell argues that the Oscar-winning film Roma, with its nine minute opening sequence shot of a woman mopping the floor and walking through a house, has "slow cinema aesthetics" running through it. Fans, like those on the site The Art(s) of Slow Cinema, say the genre's primary draw is its promotion of relaxation and its focus on the reality - and at times mundanity - of daily life; those not such big fans can't see past the boredom factor and claim its like watching paint dry (there's a show for that, too).