This is why no one ever lets me pick the movie
August 22, 2011 2:09 PM   Subscribe

I love boring movies. Recommend me your favorites.

A lot of my favorite movies are extremely slow-moving, usually with minimal dialogue and action. Some of them are deep and philosophical, some are just beautiful and slow.

Movies like:
- Nature docs, especially low-narration ones like Kestrel's Eye and Microcosmos (Sir David is great but he's not quite what I'm getting at here)
- Koyaanisqatsi and the like (I wore out a VHS tape of Chronos as a kid)
- Woman in the Dunes
- Chris Marker's films (which have plenty of narration, but seem to me more similar in style to the above than they are to a traditional documentary)

I'm not looking for movies that are merely long or uneventful (not Gone with the Wind or My Dinner with Andre, in other words). I'm also not looking for movies with lots of abstract imagery -- I'd rather watch a street scene or a blacksmith at work for ten minutes than artfully composed shots of shadows or whatever.

Five bonus points for anything on Netflix Instant Watch.
posted by theodolite to Media & Arts (117 answers total) 78 users marked this as a favorite
In The Mood For Love
posted by griphus at 2:12 PM on August 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

I'd rather watch a street scene or a blacksmith at work for ten minutes than artfully composed shots of shadows or whatever.

Have your cake and eat it too... watch Workingman's Death.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:13 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

I found Red Dirt to fit your criteria.
posted by Melismata at 2:14 PM on August 22, 2011

You can watch a short movie about a grain elevator in the farmlands of Canada right the hell now, thanks to SOCIALISM and the Internet.
posted by Rat Spatula at 2:14 PM on August 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

- "The Picnic at Hanging Rock"

- The better part of Terrance Malick's oeuvre after "Badlands."
posted by deanc at 2:15 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Tartovsky's Stalker is pretty boring, and is available streaming on Netflix.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:15 PM on August 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

Anything by Terrence Malick.
posted by Paquda at 2:15 PM on August 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

Into Great Silence
posted by griphus at 2:16 PM on August 22, 2011 [7 favorites]

Paris, Texas, perhaps?
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:17 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Frederick Wiseman
posted by Ideal Impulse at 2:18 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

My favorite boring movie ever -- Wim Wenders' "Kings of the Road." You'll love it.
posted by jayder at 2:19 PM on August 22, 2011

The Fountain
posted by ODiV at 2:20 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Kitchen Stories was both boring and strangely intriguing, and in Norwegian for extra stillness. I'm assuming you've also been through both versions of Solaris. (Solari?)
posted by mimi at 2:21 PM on August 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

The first two-thirds of The Scent of Green Papaya, although I'm afraid it might be a liiittle too plotty (in there is a plot).
posted by muddgirl at 2:21 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Schultze Gets The Blues
posted by BobbyVan at 2:22 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

You may want to check out Jonas Mekas' series at Anthology Film Archives in New York, "Boring Masterpieces."
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 2:22 PM on August 22, 2011

You would probably enjoy the films of Hou Hsiao-Hsien and perhaps many other Taiwanese filmmakers.
posted by cazoo at 2:23 PM on August 22, 2011

Last Year at Marienbad

Although I find it extremely eventful and funny, a lot of people think of Playtime this way.
posted by Grangousier at 2:23 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Béla Tarr's SATANTANGO and WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES were made for you.
posted by eschatfische at 2:24 PM on August 22, 2011

oops. Fixed link
posted by cazoo at 2:24 PM on August 22, 2011

both versions of Solaris.

This. The old version has a car ride scene that will put you to sleep knock your socks off!
posted by Rat Spatula at 2:24 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Nthing Kitchen Stories and In the Mood for Love.

Also I love love love and think you might feel similarly about Legend of Surami Fortress and the other, tremendously beautiful, tableau-esque films of Sergei Parajano.
posted by hungrytiger at 2:27 PM on August 22, 2011

Beau Travail. it's a film about the French foreign legion that really perfectly and beautifully captures the day-to-day monotony of the soldiers' lives.
posted by spindle at 2:28 PM on August 22, 2011

Winged Migration
posted by mattbucher at 2:29 PM on August 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

Many of James Benning's films could work. "One Way Boogie Woogie" is classic, and great. A terrible-quality excerpt is available on YouTube.
posted by bubukaba at 2:30 PM on August 22, 2011

The classic "slow moving" movie: 2001: A Space Odyssey. And it's on Instant View. Please PayPal me the five extra points.
posted by The Deej at 2:33 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

The first half hour or so of Wall-E was like that.
posted by catwash at 2:33 PM on August 22, 2011

I, too, love long and boring movies and my favorite movie (which also happens to be a very long and boring movie) is Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon. Many of the interior scenes were shot without the use of any electric light, but by candle light instead. It's incredibly boring and stunning all at the same time
posted by phelixshu at 2:39 PM on August 22, 2011 [6 favorites]

Gerry, directed by Gus van Sant.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 2:40 PM on August 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

posted by rhizome at 2:42 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Solaris is slow and amazing. I haven't seen the remake.

I like slow movies too, but I couldn't make it through a Yasujiro Ozu flick. (I wish I could tell you which one, but Netflix no longer lets me see a list of my past rentals.)
posted by hydrophonic at 2:47 PM on August 22, 2011

I think The Shining is quite boring and slow for most of the movie.
posted by Sassyfras at 2:54 PM on August 22, 2011

OMG, The Vanishing! Sooo very boring at the time, and so long! I couldn't understand why it was so highly regarded at first, but every time I think back on it, it gets scarier and scarier--that's how slowly it builds.

La Belle Noiseuse has a beautiful setting and beautiful people basically laying around and Having Thoughts and such. It is a lovely summer movie because it's full of sunshine and countryside and French manor house. My husband enjoyed the portrayal of a painter at work, which is amazing because he usually rolls his eyes at my "French movies."
posted by Fui Non Sum at 2:55 PM on August 22, 2011

You may be interested in Üç Maymun (Three Monkeys) and Uzak (Distant) by Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

And I recently watched Les Yeux Clairs, which fits the bill, I think. The second half of it, anyway.
posted by lapsangsouchong at 3:03 PM on August 22, 2011

Wings of Desire
posted by Wordwoman at 3:04 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

You want Tsai Ming-liang. He is the absolute, undisputed master of this. I swear that in the first scene of The Hole the phone rings for three solid minutes while our hero lies on the couch. Do you have any idea how long that is? You do not have any idea how long that is. Go rent some Tsai MIng-liang. You will thank me.
posted by The Bellman at 3:04 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

What you are looking for is Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. Repetitive housework, though it gets less boring as things break down.
posted by hoboynow at 3:05 PM on August 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

and Days of Heaven
posted by Wordwoman at 3:06 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Robinson trilogy - London, Robinson in Space, and Robinson in Ruins. I took my parents to see the last of these and they fell asleep in the first five minutes. My father said he did actually wake up a few times during the film, but then it would just be ten minutes of footage of a poppy swaying in the wind, with slow narration about the history of labour relations in England, and he'd fall straight back to sleep.
posted by Acheman at 3:07 PM on August 22, 2011

Last Days is wonderfully boring.
posted by activitystory at 3:11 PM on August 22, 2011

I haven't seen it for years, but it seems to me that So Big fits your criteria.
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:13 PM on August 22, 2011

+1 to Solaris (I've only seen the original, remake may qualify as well)
posted by reptile at 3:17 PM on August 22, 2011

Meek's Cutoff (Wikipedia, IMDB) might be what you're looking for. It's not exactly minimal dialogue and action, but everything is paced very slowly.

The Bellman is absolutely right about Tsai Ming-liang having turned this into a style of his own. I Don't Want to Sleep Alone (Wikipedia, IMDB) is so slow it took me three sessions to get all the way through.
posted by Temagami at 3:36 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

"... I'd rather watch a street scene or a blacksmith at work for ten minutes than artfully composed shots of shadows or whatever."

Heaven's Gate isn't entirely boring, but it fits your bill of particulars in this regard like no other movie, particularly the first half. And do watch in HD, if you can; they spent a buttload of money on the cinematography, and all that atmospheric grind is beautifully shot, though many sleep through it all.
posted by paulsc at 3:38 PM on August 22, 2011

Although it has a lot of dialogue, My Dinner With Andre is far and away the most boring movie ever made.
posted by Xurando at 3:40 PM on August 22, 2011

Have you checked out Iranian film? I think you might like Iranian film as a whole. The Makhmalbaf filmmaking family is a good place to start.
posted by Stacey at 3:42 PM on August 22, 2011

There Will Be Blood
posted by jay.eye.elle.elle. at 3:47 PM on August 22, 2011

Heh. Serendipitous, Stacey. I was just going to recommend Gabbeh.
posted by perspicio at 3:47 PM on August 22, 2011

Lost in Translation? Basically nothing happens but it's (in my opinion) really good.
posted by crabintheocean at 3:47 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Béla Tarr's SATANTANGO and WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES were made for you."

Amen to this. Even I couldn't make it through those, and I loooove slooooowwww moooovingggg filmsssss.

I've run people out of the room with Krzysztof Kieślowski's Decalogue. One of my all time favorites.
posted by medeine at 3:49 PM on August 22, 2011

Seconding Winged Migration. It's a lot of flying birds, shot from (IIRC) an ultralight airplane or hanglider, so that it's like you're flying too. Low narration, beautiful.
posted by kestrel251 at 3:49 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Old Joy and (to a lesser extent) Wendy and Lucy.

I've only seen 35 Shots of Rum but I think all of Claire Denis' films are like this.
posted by Chenko at 4:01 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Before Sunrise (and, to a lesser extent, the sequel, Before Sunset) are slow contemplative movies. Lots of talking and thinking. (Both on instant.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 4:01 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure if I'm interpreting this correctly, since nobody has yet mentioned my favorites! I love movies like this as well. Here are some (links are all to trailers on YouTube):

Encounters at the End of the World – A Werner Herzog movie about the South Pole, the people who do research there, and some of the animal life on it.

Swimming Pool – A French movie that everyone calls a thriller, but I never really looked at it that way. It's just beautiful.

Somewhere – I saw someone else recommend Sofia Coppola on here (Lost in Translation is my favorite movie); this one is even slower-paced. Beautiful aesthetics and a touching story.

Drama/Mex – A kind of under the radar Mexican film partially produced by Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal. It takes place in a day, and is about the intertwined lives of a handful of people in a beach town. The trailer makes it look like the most fast-paced movie in the world, but really not a lot happens.

Morvern Callar – A UK movie that someone recommended to me based on my love of Drama/Mex. Looong shots. Sloooow.

If I kept going, this would be annoyingly long. Which would be referentially hilarious?
posted by aquanet at 4:09 PM on August 22, 2011

Any Romanian film ever made.

(Well, maybe not, but definitely anything by Cristi Puiu. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu and Aurora had me tearing my hair out and walking out of the theatre pre-conclusion, respectively.)

I don't know if I would call Madadayo boring, exactly, but it's very slow-paced and not much happens.

Someone upthread mentioned The Shining; I'd add 2001.

Can't speak for how immediately accessible any of these are, though.

I'm sure I've got some more; this question could have been penned by a friend of mine but for the fact that he already seems to own every boring film ever made.
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 4:12 PM on August 22, 2011

Werner Herzog's Fata Morgana is just staggeringly dull.
posted by w0mbat at 4:15 PM on August 22, 2011

The Island
posted by fancyoats at 4:16 PM on August 22, 2011

ditto Béla Tarr, Tarkovsky
adding: Jarmusch's The Limits of Control. I could go on and on about why I think it's awesome, but for your purposes: Jarmusch himself says "I tried to make an action film with no action in it." Also, WKW collaborator Chris Doyle does cinematography.
posted by juv3nal at 4:16 PM on August 22, 2011

The films of Apichatpong Weerasethakul! Particularly Uncle Bonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.
posted by Chenko at 4:22 PM on August 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

I think the 7.5 hour video of a beautiful Norwegian train journey would be right up your alley.
posted by smoke at 4:37 PM on August 22, 2011

Alone in the Wilderness
(Guy goes to Alaska, builds himself a cabin, hunts, fishes. Absolutely fascinating)
posted by Bron at 5:02 PM on August 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

Three films on Netflix Instant Watch:

Rivers and Tides

Mid-August Lunch

Être et avoir (To Be and To Have)
posted by seriousmoonlight at 5:05 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

A couple I'm friends with aren't MeFites but write a movie blog and suggest the following:

"Russian Ark, which was awesome. (This is a Russian movie that takes place in a museum and goes through periods of Russian history.)
Wool 100%
I see people suggesting Solaris, which I agree with and add Sunshine to (there's probably another by the same title but I'm talking about the one with Cillian Murphy).
The Day the Earth Froze (I am totally serious - the special effects are impressive for their time and it moves at the pace of a glacier)
The Natural (I felt like this would never end)
The first 2/3 of I Am Legend is slow paced and I thought it was utterly fascinating.
Insomnia (the Al Pacino version, I can't speak to the original)"
posted by cobaltnine at 5:20 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Once Upon a Time in the Old West -- a hell of a lot happens in this, but I felt that it should have been named "Till Hell Freezes Over in the Old West".
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 5:27 PM on August 22, 2011

posted by MelanieL at 5:39 PM on August 22, 2011

Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner
I've recommended this here before, an amazing telling of an ancient oral legend from Inuit culture. Very slow moving, beautiful, and mesmerizing. By the end you feel totally immersed in this world.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 5:44 PM on August 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

Stalker -- just as beautiful as Solaris, and slow moving
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 5:50 PM on August 22, 2011

Cast Away
posted by Wordwoman at 5:51 PM on August 22, 2011

Barry Lyndon --another slow moving Kubrick movie --and very underrated
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 5:54 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

I found Enter the Void alternately boring and fascinating. A large part of the movie takes place from the perspective of a ghost (?) floating around Tokyo observing the people he left behind from above, without actually being able to discern their conversations or much of what is going on. Boring and sad and strangely peaceful.

Currently available on Netflix instant.
posted by GraceCathedral at 6:31 PM on August 22, 2011

Hoo boy. Goodbye Dragon Inn is your movie.
posted by indognito at 6:35 PM on August 22, 2011

Babies for the bonus points.
posted by evilmomlady at 6:51 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

The Passenger.
posted by pianomover at 7:05 PM on August 22, 2011

Warhol's Empire.
posted by gertzedek at 7:25 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Gerry & Old Joy.
posted by mmdei at 7:25 PM on August 22, 2011

I don't find it 'boring' in the least, but Theodoros Angelopoulos' The Travelling Players is one of my favorite movies of all time, and might be up your alley if I'm getting what you're getting at.

It is, in my opinion, "extremely slow-moving... with minimal dialogue and action... deep and philosophical... beautiful and slow", though YMMV on some of those criteria.

It is also almost four hours long.
posted by trip and a half at 7:53 PM on August 22, 2011

The Man Who Wasn't There
posted by spaltavian at 8:04 PM on August 22, 2011

Visconti's Death in Venice might fit the bill, as well.

From the first user review on IMDb:

The core of the film is in Dirk Bogarde's performance. As there is little dialogue in the film, he must act with his eyes and through his mannerisms, and he never falters. In the reflection of his eyes we see beauty as it is distinguished in the depths of all of our souls (well, those of us who have souls!). We see the awe, the pain, the fever, the fear, the desire and the ultimate surrender all in that forlorn face.

The music (most of it by Gustave Mahler) also reflects all this, and Visconti's incredible photography of the decaying Venice pinpoints the end of an era in a way that is both dreamlike and unsentimental (despite the romantic quality of the film).

The film is slow and langorous, like the hush of the ocean sweeping the shore. For those who like the visual quality of dreams and the somber romanticism of adagios, this film will be something to cherish forever.

posted by trip and a half at 8:17 PM on August 22, 2011

Anchoress is pretty slow (black and white, no music, very stark), but good. I watched it for a Medieval Lit class, and I remember remarking to the class that it might be difficult to watch, simply because it moves so slowly.

And as a bonus, it has Christopher Eccleston in it.
posted by kethonna at 8:25 PM on August 22, 2011

Russian Ark
Ulysses' Gaze
posted by matildaben at 8:44 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Music Teacher
posted by bq at 9:26 PM on August 22, 2011

Yi Yi, a One and a Two. I loved it. My husband had to stop watching halfway through because nothing happened.
posted by msali at 9:57 PM on August 22, 2011

Claire Denis "L'intrus" (this one is particularly enigmatic)

Alexander Sokurov "Mother and Son" (he also made "Russan Ark" and quite a few more slow moving films that are very beautiful)

Seconding "Once Upon a Time in the West" (I happen to love it)

Maybe Takeshi Kitano's "Hana-bi"?

Hou Hsaio-Hsien, I can recommend "Flowers of Shanghai"

Abderrhamane Sissako, "Waiting for Happiness"

I think you would really like the Dardenne brothers? Try "Rosetta" and "Le fils." I also wonder if you would like Robert Bresson.. "Au hasard Balthazar," "Mouchette," "Pickpocket"

What I've seen of Bruno Dumont's films is a whole lot of sloooooow moving scenes that can be very beautiful and then something intensely weird and shocking happens, and then it goes back to sloooooooooooow..
posted by citron at 10:08 PM on August 22, 2011

Also this recent New York Times article and comments may be of interest!
In Defense of the Slow and the Boring
posted by citron at 10:47 PM on August 22, 2011

Jim Jarmusch's films tend to be long on shots and short on dialog. Think of him as the opposite of the quick-cutting style of many editors: "Down By Law," and "Mystery Train" are my favorites of his.
posted by wheat at 11:57 PM on August 22, 2011

Akira Kurosawa's Dreams (SLNetflix) is absolutely gorgeous, but it moves very slowly. One of my favorites.
posted by phoebus at 12:17 AM on August 23, 2011

I'm not sure if this is your cuppa tea, due to brief moments of extreme violence, but the viking movie
Valhalla Rising (2009) is exceedingly slow, pensive and passive (and also home to breathtaking scenery). Long intervals pass without a word of dialogue; the effect is dreamlike and druggy. It's like an opiate on celluloid--you'll be bored to tears, but the movie will stay with you and haunt your waking and sleeping moments. It was formerly available on Netflix streaming, but I can't confirm its current status and collect my five bonus points, having cancelled streaming due to the aggravating 60% increase in price. But your best bet is to stream it if it's still available, because the streaming version is HD and the movie isn't rentable in Blu-ray.
posted by Gordion Knott at 1:29 AM on August 23, 2011

Lacho Drom

Mademoiselle was so slow paced I couldn't watch it.
posted by zia at 1:33 AM on August 23, 2011

Baraka seems to fit the bill you describe, although I would hardly call it "boring." I was reminded several times of Koyaanisqatsi (sp?) the first time I saw it. It's a complete marvel. See it on as big a screen as possible.

Also, The Man With the Movie Camera.
posted by stennieville at 1:42 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh foo. "Embedding disabled by request." Trying again, Baraka trailer.
posted by stennieville at 1:44 AM on August 23, 2011

The Sorrow and the Pity (French: Le chagrin et la pitié).

A documentary shot in 1969 "... about the French Resistance and collaboration between the Vichy government and Nazi Germany during World War II. The film uses interviews with a German officer, collaborators, and resistance fighters from Clermont-Ferrand. They comment on the nature of and reasons for collaboration. The reasons include anti-Semitism, anglophobia, fear of Bolsheviks and Soviet invasion, the desire for power, and simple caution."

I mention it not because it fits your definition precisely (it is long but it's not a nature documentary) but because it's not everyones idea of an 'exciting' film and yet it is absolutely fascinating. All the more so because it was shot in 1969 so that many of those who had participated in the events discussed were still very much alive and able to talk about their experiences. Another thing that makes it compelling is that the people on screen had made choices 30 years previously which affected their lives and the lives of many others (often tragically) and now they look back on those choices and the events that flowed from them.

It is almost exclusively in French so you need to not have a problem with sub-titles (well unless you can speak French) and it's in black and white. Neither should put you off. The only thing I would suggest is that as it's over six hours in length you should watch the two parts as two parts and not attempt a back-to-back sitting !

Breaking the Waves a film by Lars Von Trier. It was a bit much for me and I walked out after an hour (if you follow the link I guess you'll see it's not everyones cup of tea) but I tend to think it may fit your criteria.

Remains of the Day. A movie based upon the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. I don't want to try to summarise it but it's a very good novel which was made into a very good movie. The pace is anything but fast but the journey is a good one. I've just discovered it received 8 Academy Award nominations which surprised me - it's not really the sort of film I expect to get that type of attention but on the other hand it did an awful lot of stuff right.
posted by southof40 at 2:26 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

McCabe and Mrs.Miller. Some people find all of the shots of Warren Beatty trudging through the snow to be boring.
posted by betweenthebars at 5:36 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

+1 for anything by Kelly Reichardt: I love Wendy & Lucy, and Old Joy.

Also, Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
posted by rahulrg at 5:45 AM on August 23, 2011

Another Year and Wendy and Lucy. Wendy and Lucy is available streaming on Netflix.
posted by MeiraV at 7:07 AM on August 23, 2011

I remember Venus Beauty Institute being like this. And it is subtitled.
posted by Acer_saccharum at 7:58 AM on August 23, 2011

The Sacrifice - quite as slow as Stalker and Solaris.

A note clarifying the recommendation of Russian Ark - it's fairly sprightly, as far as most of the films on this list go, quickfooting through 300 years of Russian history in an hour and a half. It still qualifies because the entire movie is a single unbroken Steadicam shot.
posted by Iridic at 8:07 AM on August 23, 2011

Tree of Life.
posted by queens86 at 8:37 AM on August 23, 2011

posted by txmon at 8:50 AM on August 23, 2011

Three Colours:Blue. Of course, I may be a philistine who just didn't get it, but it is very subtle and meditative. Keep meaning to see White and Red...
posted by mippy at 12:20 PM on August 23, 2011

Scene at the Sea ( by Takeshi Kitano
posted by bbxx at 3:40 PM on August 23, 2011

Quay Brothers? Street of Crocodiles, In Absentia, Anamorphosis, Instituta Benjamenta. Many many more.
posted by Grangousier at 3:52 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you like teasing boring, Alfred Hitchcock is the master. He intentionally inserts plodding dull middle acts in order to lull you into a stupor, so he can throw in a rousing surprise at the end. A good example is Notorious.
posted by ovvl at 5:54 PM on August 23, 2011

Our Daily Bread resembles Chronos and the -qaatsi movies.
posted by ifjuly at 4:41 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

(and I agree, Baraka is amazing--way better than the -qaatsi movies imho--but figured you'd seen it since you mentioned Chronos)

people seem to be mentioning movies that don't fit your criteria esp. with your disclaimer about it not being like, say, My Dinner With Andre, where it's just long with little or extremely slow plot eclipsed by mood. Since there's a ton of that being listed already, in case I'm misreading, some I thought of before the fold disclaimer would include Ordet, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, Last Year at Marienbad, Haxan, Andrei Rublev, La Dolce Vita, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Taste of Cherry, Astrea and Celadon/Rohmer's more languid stuff, The Mirror, Late Spring, and L'ecole...that sort of movie is pretty much my favorite (ymmv).
posted by ifjuly at 4:48 AM on August 24, 2011

Oh man, speaking of Jeanne Dielman, all of Chantal Akerman's minor work is like that (Portrait of a Young Girl in Brussels at the End of the 1960s comes to mind) Godard's 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her is similar too--housewife wandering around town and her house just rambling pretty much. And I found it totally insufferably indulgent crap, but A Safe Place with Tuesday Weld, Jack Nicholson, and Orson Welles has a similar feel.

Cannot nth enough Russian Ark. One of my favorites in this genre for sure--you lose all sense of time watching it, just getting swept up.
posted by ifjuly at 4:55 AM on August 24, 2011

"Babies". Not a single word is spoke directly to camera but you get amazing insights into different cultures. Also lots of cute babies.

"Remains of the Day". Not so much boring as contemplative with lots of unspoken dialogue, great acting and really plot wise nothing much happens. Beautifully shot with 2 kick ass actors acting their pants off errr so to speak with lots of quiet repressed subtext. Also a great book.
posted by wwax at 4:56 AM on August 24, 2011

Jim Jarmusch! I recommend "Dead Man" for this - very slow, long tracking shots, enigmatic, beautiful scenery. I love this film.
posted by citron at 7:13 PM on August 24, 2011

You should probably discount most of the recommendations here that were mainstream English-language successes, because those films have a different standard for slowness. 'The Remains of the Day', for example, is not really slow if you contrast it to many of the other films here. 'Sunshine' is pretty uncomplicatedly an action film. 'There Will Be Blood' is not at all a slow film. And really, The Shining?

To get to my point, I've been applying a lot of internal debate to this recommendation, but I think Michael Haneke's The Seventh Continent would probably meet your criteria. I hesitate to pass on recommendations to see this film, because it's without a doubt the most painful film I have ever seen in my life. It's possible that it would also be the most painful film you would ever see in your life. Lots of my favourite films are of the kind you're describing and indeed were mentioned here, and I suspect that you probably work the same way that I do and won't come out of The Seventh Continent thinking 'gosh, that was dull', but 'Oh my goodness, I don't really have words to describe what just happened, but it was intense." It's incredibly, incredibly slow: the second half takes place almost in real-time and is mostly without dialogue. It's beautiful but not in a way that's at all pleasant, beautiful in the sense that it's so perfect. It's rare to have with cinema the experience that you sometimes get reading a book, where you wonder how it is that the experiences that you had thought were most private and idiosyncratic to you have been accessed by the author and discussed openly. If you really want to have the searing, awful experience that I had when you watch it, don't look up any details about the 'plot' (there is almost no plot, so there is really only one detail) before you watch it. But please be warned, and try to have friends nearby.
posted by Acheman at 5:26 AM on August 26, 2011

Herzog's been mentioned, but "blacksmith at work for ten minutes" made me think of his film Heart of Glass which is quite possibly the slowest paced movie I've ever seen. Everyone on screen was hypnotized throughout the making of the film, so for example, a glass can take 5 minutes to put down. A lot of Koyaanisqatsi-esque nature footage as well, although it was made a few years earlier. A real underrated masterpiece.

Another good one that IS available on Netflix is Sweetgrass, which is a documentary on the last sheepherders who put their sheep out to pasture in the US. Beautiful and hypnotic.

Last recommendation can be hard to track down but is worth it, Robert Gardener's film on Benares, India, called Forest of Bliss.
posted by mike_bling at 3:57 PM on August 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Spirit of the Beehive is slow and beautiful and one of my favorite movies.

In a small Castilian village in 1940, in the wake of the country’s devastating civil war, six-year-old Ana attends a traveling movie show of Frankenstein and becomes possessed by the memory of it. Produced as Franco’s long regime was nearing its end, The Spirit of the Beehive is a bewitching portrait of a child’s haunted inner life and one of the most visually arresting movies ever made.
posted by paulg at 7:22 AM on August 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

How could I have forgotten to mention The Falls?
About which Greenaway had this to say:
Many, many years ago I made a film and I made a lot of it in Wales called The Falls. It was three and a half hours long, extremely boring and really sort of test people's patience...It's an ambulatory journey to be taken a little at a time, perhaps to be fast-forwarded through if and when the viewer chooses. Certainly, there's no insistence on my behalf that people should feel the obligation to watch it all the way through at a single sitting.
posted by juv3nal at 12:54 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

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