Ben Rivers’ magnificent film of a sloth doesn’t encourage lazy viewing. Rather, it’s an active, engaging and engrossing experience. Time becomes suspended as each breath, every movement becomes a theatrical drama unfolding before our eyes. Perhaps implicitly poking fun at the term ‘slow cinema’, Rivers instead gives us an exquisite example of ‘sloth cinema’.

Ben Rivers
United Kingdom
Thu 19/09
40 mins
Town Hall Council Chamber

It's a surprisingly rare proposition that we are able to spend such a quantity of time observing a wild animal in her own habitat, but Now, at Last! isn't a simple nature documentary. Though its observational function is certainly rewarding, Rivers sets off an unexpected flip of the viewer's expectations at several points throughout the film.

A candy-coloured punctuation of the slow action, the film's otherwise black and white cinematography is interrupted by colour 16mm, additionally manipulated through separation filters. Atop the immersive soundtrack of the jungle setting, we hear a live version of The Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody". Singer Bobby Hatfield comments implicitly on the film: "Time goes by so slowly, and time can do so much..."

When one learns the song was written as the theme to a 1950s prison film, extra relevance is placed on our protagonist's freedom. Cherry is unchained and able to live and love as she wants. We need to make sure that she (and all her sisters and babies) will have the clean, healthy and stable environment to continue to live that way well into the future. —Herb Shellenberger

Ben Rivers

Ben Rivers (1972) studied Fine Art at Falmouth School of Art, initially in sculpture before moving into photography and Super8 film. After his degree, he taught himself 16mm filmmaking and hand-processing. His practice as a filmmaker treads a line between documentary and fiction. Often following and filming people who have in some way separated themselves from society, the raw film footage provides Rivers with a starting point for creating oblique narratives imagining alternative existences in marginal worlds.
Rivers is the recipient of numerous prizes including Tiger Award for Short Film, International Film Festival Rotterdam; Robert Gardner film award; Artangel Open; FIPRESCI International Critics Prize, Venice Film Festival; the Baloise Art Prize, Art Basel; and Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists.
In 1996, he co-founded Brighton Cinematheque—renowned for screening a unique programme of film from its earliest days through to the latest artist’s film and video—and he co-programmed through to its demise in 2006.


Krabi, 2562 (with Anocha Suwichakornpong, 2019), Ghost Strata (2019), 10 Min (2019), Now, at last! (2018), Trees Down Here (2018), The Rare Event (with Ben Russell, 2018), You Can't Imagine Nothing (2018), Urth (2016), The Shape of Things (installation, 2016), The Hunchback (with Gabriel Abrantes, 2016), There is a Happy Land Further Away (2015), What Means Something (2015), A Distant Episode (2015), The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers (2015), Mrabet (2015), Things (2014), The Film That Buys the Cinema (compilation film, 2014), A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness (with Ben Russell, 2013), Phantoms of a Libertine (2012), The Creation As We Saw It (2012), Sack Barrow (2011), Two Years at Sea (2011), Slow Action (2010), I Know Where I'm Going (2009), May Tomorrow Shine the Brightest of all Your Many Days as it Will be your Last (with Paul Harnden, 2009), Alice (2009), A World of Rattled Habit (2008), Origin of the Species (2008), Sørdal (2008), Ah, Liberty! (2008), Dove Coup (2007), Greenhouse (2007), House (2007), The Coming Race (2006), Astika (2006), Terror! (2006), This is My Land (2006), The Bomb with a Man in his Shoe (2005), The Hyrcynium Wood (2005), We the People (2004), Old Dark House (2003), The Big Sink (1993)