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‘The Art of Slow Motion’: New Video Essay from The Discarded Image Examines the Popular Technique

Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson and death itself all feature prominently.

"Moonrise Kingdom"

“Moonrise Kingdom”

Focus Features/Shutterstock

Julian Palmer’s “The Discarded Image” series of video essays continues with “The Art of Slow Motion.” Palmer touches on everything from its frequent use in action movies, where it allows fight sequences and supernatural abilities to be seen in a level of detail that real time wouldn’t allow, to Martin Scorsese’s habit of using it to allow us inside his characters’ minds, namely those played by Robert De Niro: Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver,” Jake La Motta in “Raging Bull” and Sam “Ace” Rothstein in “Casino.”

READ MORE: Watch These Parodies of Video Essays and Learn the Answer to the Question ‘Why Is Cinema?’

Other practitioners featured in the video include Stanley Kubrick (“Full Metal Jacket”), Wong Kar-wai (“Chungking Express” and “In the Mood for Love”) and Nicolas Winding Refn (“Drive”). Palmer also turns his attention to the bloody climax of “Carrie,” where Brian De Palma underscores the feeling of imminent dread, and “Reservoir Dogs,” where Quentin Tarantino makes his color-coded characters look cool.

READ MORE: Every Frame A Painting: Learn How Editors Think & Feel In Tony Zhou’s New Video Essay

The essay ends, fittingly enough, with an invocation of both Wes Anderson (who closes out almost all of his movies with a slow-motion scene) and the ever-popular slo-mo death sequence.

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