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Now that's what I call a short film: A new book condenses plots into five-second graphics

If you’re fed up with movies getting longer, this book is just the ticket, says Gillian Orr. But can you recognise your favourite in our gallery?

If it feels like you're spending longer periods of time than ever in a cinema seat, you're not imagining it: movies are officially getting longer. And with upcoming big screen treats such as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom passing the two-and-a-half-hour mark, your backside looks set to be held hostage by your local Odeon through to 2014.

So it seems like the perfect time to launch Film In Five Seconds, a book that allows readers to fast forward through some of cinema’s greatest hits. 150 films have been stripped down to simple pictograms that can be funny, clever and even moving. Much like your favourite movies.

Created by H-57, a creative design studio based in Milan that was also responsible for the “History of…” series, which depicted the lives of figures such as Marie Antoinette and Michael Jackson in a similarly minimalist fashion, its goal is to “tell very complicated things in very few images”, says to the creative director Gianmarco Milesi.

In an age of information overload, using infographics to succinctly relay stories and messages has never been more popular. Just look at the ­success of books such as David McCandless’s ­Information is Beautiful. All the noise has forced us to change the way we communicate material. In Film in Five Seconds, readers can even download an app which allows them to scan the page to bring the pictogram to life on their smartphones.

Click here to guess the films from their pictograms

But Milesi rejects the idea that such reductions in any way dumb content down. “Our hope is that people will use these as suggestions to go off and explore. Perhaps to watch a movie they weren’t familiar with.”

The films (which include The Godfather) were chosen not because they are the finest, but because they are ones people have affection for. “They’re not all great movies; this is not supposed to be the history of cinema,” insists Milesi.

Catering for both film buffs and those with an appreciation of stylish and witty graphic design, the book should also please anyone who finds sitting still in the dark for up to three hours a real pain in the butt.

‘Film in Five Seconds’ by H-57 (Quercus, £9.99) is out now

Picture gallery answers:1.'The Lion King'; 2.'Casablanca'; 3. 'ET'; 4. 'The Shining'; 5. 'Jurassic Park'; 6. 'Jaws'; 7. 'Breakfast at Tiffany’s'; 8. 'Four Weddings and a Funeral'; 9. 'Titanic'; 10. 'The Lord of the Rings'