Not the movie that felt the longest, like Weekend, or one where you were praying for a merciful death to end the torment, like Salo, but the one that literally took hours and hours and hours to watch.
For me, the hands down winner is Berlin Alexanderplatz, all 15 hours of it, which as you know Criterion has recently (and brilliantly) restored and released. I saw it when it first came out: three hours a weekend for a month. That’s the way the art theater I attended had to show it, if only for economic reasons. I can’t say my head didn’t occasionally nod off but as a whole it was very well worth it. It’s a great film.
Then there’s Claude Lanzman’s great Holocaust documentary, Shoah, which clocks in at 11 hours. Marcel Ophuls’ Hotel Terminus, on the same subject, clocks in at around six hours I think.
I ask this because I just received Syberberg’s “Our Hitler: A Film from Germany” in the mail. Seven hours, and if the first ten minutes are any indication, these hours will not fly by.
I sat through a screening of Sergei Bondarchuk’s version of “War and Peace.” Eight hours, two parts (split up into two days of screening). It was a gorgeous film, but I left feeling, “Damn. I get it already!”
I’m with Hitchcock, who once said, “The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.” The only film whose length does not bother me—and in fact I hardly even noticed the fact that it was long the first time I saw it—is “Seven Samurai” (at almost four hours). Other than that, if I gotta take a piss, and a film is going on and on, then it better be really fucking brilliant.
Bertolucci’s 1900. Loved every minute of it.
Jonathan — That reminds me of Warren Beatty’s old story about screening “Bonnie and Clyde” for Jack Warner, who didn’t get it at all and kept getting up to go to the bathroom. He called it a “three piss picture.”
Loved 1900 as well.
Haha. I’ll have to remember that. Great story.
“Seven Samurai” was one of the longest ones that I’ve seen too, but I would agree that it doesn’t feel as long as it is. It entertained me, and that’s all that mattered. Every part of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy was long because I watched the extended editions. Sometimes, they are less entertaining, especially the third one.
Bela Tarr’s “Satantango”. Whilst only a mere 7 hours long, you feel every nanosecond of this Hungarian movie as time drips through the lives of dissolute members of a failing collective like cold syrup.
It’s a brilliant film.
Don’t forget Ophuls’ “The Memory of Justice,” released theatrically by Paramount (I recall) back in the 70s, but long unavailable in North America.
Three Times. It was so long it’s still going on, somewhere. I wanted to garrotte myself.
Out 1 was the longest film I ever sat through, 13 hours (shown in two 6.5 hour parts over two days). Satantango is up there too!
Berlin Alexanderplatz in first place,
second place Satantango.
Claude Lanzmann’s “Shoah” over 9hrs
Yang’s “A Brighter Summer Day” 4hrs
and I just finished watching Laing’s restored “Die Nibelungen” (‘Siegfried’ and ’Kriemhild’s Revenge’) just under 5hrs
Die Nibelungen and Dr Mabuse the gambler are some of the greatest silents ever made.
Yeah for sure in terms of epics, along with Abel Gance’s “Napoleon”, “J’Accuse” and “La Roue”!
the best of youth was my longest. six hours. great
Berlin Alexanderplatz and Best Of Youth come to mind…
Ah yes, I knew I was mising one: Best of Youth. Good film.
I bought special tix for all four nights of BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ way back when, and way back when when I couldn’t really afford it. I regretted it about five minutes into Part I.
Although THE HORSE WHISPERER seemed even longer …
Lawrence of Arabia felt longer than it actually was, and it was already long!
Bollywood. Enough said.
Shoah, 940 minutes.
berlin alexanderplatz is my longest too.
The Best of Youth, which was fantastic.
And luckily, the theater that was showing it gave a couple short intermissions with food included in the price of the ticket.
In one sitting at the cinema: La Mamain Et La Putain (215mins – yeah, you can call me a lightweight). At home: Satantango (with bathroom breaks). Still kicking myself for missing Out-1 in it’s recent showing at the BFI – come on and let’s have a dvd release for this, pleeeease!
I’ll be seeing the 5-hour version of Fanny and Alexander at the theater tomorrow.
Gone With the Wind, which was miserable. While the cinematography was great, I found the story terribly boring, the pacing extremely slow, and hardly any of the characters likable. It’s a classic. That’s why I sat through it.
Berlin Alexanderplatz. Will be trying to get through Out 1, Les Vampires, Histoire(s) du Cinema, and Hitler, a film from Germany during winter break. Wish me luck!
I went to a screening for Bondarchuk’s War and Peace last December, and they had two intermissions and an hour-and-half break for dinner. By the time I staggered out of the theater I felt like I’d been through a war myself, but I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
Three Times is more like three short movies in one, and it’s possible I actually fell asleep at one point. And anything directed by Edward Yang is guaranteed to be very, very long. I can’t remember which was worse, That Day on the Beach, or Yi Yi.