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Boyhood – the start of a slow filmmaking movement?

To the best of our knowledge, there isn’t yet such a thing as a slow filmmaking movement. But Boyhood, the latest movie from US director Richard Linklater, might prove to be a catalyst. The director of Slacker, Waking Life and the Before trilogy, all pioneering films in their own right, shot Boyhood intermittently using the same cast over a twelve-year period, an enormous gamble when you consider that the lead actor was only six at the start of the project.

We all experience the impact of the passage of time in our own lives, and yet there’s something extraordinary about witnessing actor Ellar Coltrane’s journey from childhood to puberty to young adult over the film’s 165 minutes.Big screen storytelling has rarely felt this subtle, this meaningful, this epic and this real.

Linklater, of course, has directed coming of age films before, most notably 1993’s Dazed & Confused. But this is bigger. It’s about ageing, how relationships grow and change, but also about how they more or less stay the same.

More than any work of fiction, Boyhood resembles Michael Apted’s Up series for UK television. When we first started talking about our plans for Delayed Gratification, Up was a regular point of reference, a groundbreaking documentary about the lives of British people filmed at seven-year intervals since 1964, a longitudinal study that can help us understand how British society has changed. That’s why we measure news in months and years rather than minutes – to look at the impact of the passage of time, to try and measure change.

24-hour news channels, minute-by-minute blogs and social media are all very well, but it’s also sometimes necessary to pull back and see the bigger picture. By documenting his characters’ lives in years and not minutes, Linklater shows us a bigger picture – and it’s a revelation.

Watch the trailer here.

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