Slowly embracing the cinema of action

This paper examines the relationship between the Slow Cinema movement and the action film genre. By analyzing the work of Jean-Pierre Melville, I will display the ways in which many of his films can be classified as action films while sharing qualities synonymous with Slow Cinema. As a result, Melville can be considered a precursor to a new cinematic movement which I am proposing: “Slow Action”. Gradually developed over the past several years, Slow Action is the child of the Slow Cinema movement and the action genre. Hsiao-Hsien Hou’s The Assassin (2015) and Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin (2013) are prominent and highly regarded examples of this movement and, in this paper, I will engage in a close analysis of their cinematic qualities as a way of defining said movement. In appropriating these qualities, Slow Action films manage to challenge the conventions of action cinema, as well as the notion that such a challenge can only be mounted from outside of its sphere of influence.