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The use of slow motion in film can have a resounding effect on an audience and, when used appropriately, represents so much more than a cheap production technique. In a video essay, Julian Palmer of The Discarded Image argues that there’s an art to it, and filmmakers like Zack Snyder, Martin Scorsese, John Woo and more not only skillfully employ its use, but have the wherewithal to know when it can help to elevate a scene.

Whether used in action sequences to “aestheticize the violence” or in dramas to get inside a character’s head, slow motion has its purpose across a variety of genres.

In related news, check out our top 20 films coming out of Cannes this year.

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