Movies have always come in all kinds of forms, shapes, and sizes. Outside a typical two-hour movie, most people are familiar with short films, especially when companies like Disney attach those great Pixar animated shorts to the beginning of their movies when released in theaters. Short films are often how many movie directors begin their careers as well. What isn’t as well known, however, and certainly not for a lack of movies that fit the category, is ‘long films.’ Some people may think anything over three hours is long, but there are several directors that have proven there is no limit to how long a movie can be.
Sometimes, these long movies can be considered works of modern art. That’s certainly the case for The Clock, a 24-hour-long movie that is simply every minute of the day edited together from shots of movies that feature the time. It was created in 2010 and is a regular at art museums. While not every long movie lasts an entire day, there are some that can double or even triple the average runtime. If you’d like to see a long movie for yourself, check out this list of just some of the longest movies you can find.
8 Amra Ekta Cinema Banabo
Amra Ekta Cinema Banabo, also known by its English title, The Innocence, runs for approximately 21 hours and five minutes. This narrative film seems to revolve around the aftermath of the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. While politics and revolution are big topics, the film also highlights the typical struggles and aspirations of the usual person through love and dreams. It took nine years of filming and editing to bring the movie together, so a lot of attention and hard work was put into its making.
7 A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery
The historical fantasy drama A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery is an intricately woven tale that spans for a total of eight hours and five minutes. The film examines the myth of Andres Bonifacio, the celebrated father of the Philippines Revolution against the Spanish. It does this by going through history in several various interwoven narratives, attempting to tie them together over the course of those eight hours. Critics reviews were mixed, mostly criticizing the complicated narrative and claiming it was confusing. However, they weren’t all negative, as it went on to win the Alfred Bauer Prize at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.
6 Out 1
Out 1 is a French experimental film with a runtime of 12 hours and 53 minutes. The movie begins by focusing on two different theater troupes rehearsing two different plays. There are also two outsiders to these groups, one of whom is investigating the possible existence of a mob. Initially, the French New Wave movie seems like a documentary as it focuses on the two sets of actors practicing as well as the outsider trying to collect information. However, those loose strands of plot slowly begin to tie into one another as issues arise for the theater productions and the outsider begins to find and follow a series of clues. A shorter version of the film does exist, but it is not how the director Jacques Rivette intended it to be seen, so it’s best viewed in the full 12-hour version; luckily, the masterpiece was recently remastered.
5 The Best of Youth
Set over the course of several decades, The Best of Youth is six hours and 40 minutes of a family saga in post-World War II Italy. The story follows two brothers, Nicola and Matteo, as they weave in and out of each other’s lives and deal with several struggles. Matteo’s first love is taken from him by an institute that harms their inhabitants, he quickly falls into depression and anger, while Nicola has a child out of wedlock though the mother soon disappears from both of their lives. Some actors and the director of the film received nominations for and won awards at several film festivals, including at the David di Donatello Awards and the European Film Awards.
4 Happy Hour
Happy Hour is a Japanese drama film that runs for five hours and 17 minutes, and was directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, who helmed Drive My Car, the Best International Feature Oscar-winner. It follows a group of four female friends, getting into the details of their lives and loves. Jun admits to her friends that she’s been having an affair and wants to divorce her husband, a fact that her other friends don’t take lightly. They come around, however, and as they support her in trying to win the court case to get divorced, their own love lives twist and change as their stories intertwine. Despite not being professional actors, the four lead actresses shared the best actress award they won at the Locarno Film Festival.
3 Fanny and Alexander
Originally planned to be a TV show, Fanny and Alexander ended up being a full, five-hour and 12-minute movie instead (though has aired in three parts on television before). The main titular characters are two children who live with a happy family until their father dies of a stroke. Not long after, their mother remarries, but this new marriage isn’t anything like what she had expected. As the kids struggle to deal with their new strict step-father, their mother tries to find a way to get them safely out of the marriage and away from him. The movie went on to win an Oscar for best foreign film, as well as nominations for several other categories, and was nominated for a few BAFTA Awards as well. It’s a visually gorgeous, emotionally resonant, and magical late film from the great Ingmar Bergman.
Based on a book of the same name, Satantango is a seven hour and 30-minute film that focuses on a small village after the collapse of their collective farm. Several members conspire together to steal all the villager’s money and flee, but it falls apart when rumors spread that an old coworker everyone thought had died was returning for a visit. This coworker has plans to steal the money for himself by tricking everyone into giving it to him. Meanwhile, the Doctor, a recluse who almost never leaves his house, is thrown into the middle of several different arguments and plot points as he tries to buy more brandy. The film received critical acclaim upon its release, many praising the usage of long takes; the film opens with seven and a half minutes of cows walking, signaling to anyone just what this film is like. Bela Tarr’s camerawork and mastery of tone makes this one of the most hypnotic movies of all time.
Shoah is a Holocaust documentary that spans nine hours and 26 minutes. Though it talks about a lot of hard topics, there are four main ones seen throughout the documentary. The Chelmno extermination camp is one, which was the first of the Nazi extermination camps; the more well known camps of Treblinka and Auchwitz are also topics, and the Warsaw ghetto. Throughout the documentary are testimonies and interviews from several survivors, witnesses, and even perpetrators. The film took 11 years to make, and reached critical acclaim upon its release. It received many award nominations, including the best non-fiction film at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, and the BAFTA for best documentary. Still to this day, many consider it to be the most important documentary about the Holocaust.
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