I have returned from my wonderful week off in Melbourne with the Queensland Colts golf team. It was an absolute blast. Sadly, I’m now back to normality and am catching up on my movies. I saw 4 on Sunday alone – just two shy of my all-time record of 6 in a day. Thankfully, this week is relatively quiet so all should be back to normal within a few days.
Out this week in cinemas would have to be the longest movie I’ve ever seen – Che. One of my favourite films of 2004 was The Motorcycle Diaries and it focused on the early life of South American revolutionary Che Guevera in the 1950s.
Director Steven Soderbergh has continued the story with this new film. Che: Part One looks at Geuvara’s part in a successful revolution within Cuba in 1956. Che: Part Two then centres on a not-so-successful revolution within Bolivia in 1967.
If you watch both films back-to-back, you’ll need to allow 4 hours and 24 minutes. I’ve seen the first film (which was good but not great) and am just about to start watching the second one. There’s no full review attached with my e-newsletter this week but I’ll send it through tomorrow night once I’ve finished this endurance test.
The only film I can remember seeing which was even close to this duration was Hamlet in 1996. It ran for 4 hours and 2 minutes and I can still remember seeing it at the Hoyts Regent in the city. There were two old ladies who were asking questions throughout the movie (I think they were having trouble with the Shakespearean dialect) and every time they did, there would be someone in the audience yelling out “shhhhhhh”. It got a little tiring after 4 hours but thankfully there was a 15 minute interval in between – which allowed me to sneak downstairs to Maccas to grab lunch. So many memories.
Che opens this Thursday at the Dendy Portside and I believe they are showing it as two separate movies. I’ll be interested to see if they charge you twice or whether there’s a special deal. I’ll let you know next week.
Longest Movies Ever Made?
The fact that Che is so long has left me asking the question – what are the longest movies of all time?
According to the Internet Movie Database, the honour belongs to The Cure Of Insomnia which was released in 1987. It went for 87 hours and was shown at The School Of The Art Institute in Chicago. It is described as “Not really following any standard plot structure, the film mostly consists of poet L.D. Groban reciting his own poem of 4,080 pages, inter-spliced with X-rated film footage and rock music videos.” It sounds torturous and I have no plans to take it on.
Let’s get serious though and look at some more mainstream movies…
The Russian version of War & Peace (released in 1968), which I believe screened last year at the Russian Film Festival, ran for 6 hours and 54 minutes. Can’t say I’ve seen that one either.
The director’s cut of Cleopatra (1963) with Elizabeth Taylor goes for 5 hours and 20 minutes. Thankfully, the regular version goes for only 3 hours and 12 minutes.
One film that we’re all familiar with is Gone With The Wind. Adjusted for inflation, it is still the highest grossing picture of all time. That’s hard to fathom when you consider it ran for 3 hours and 58 minutes. If a current day film was that long, would people really see it? Our attention spans seem to be shorter and shorter in today’s busy world.
In 1995, I can remember seeing Nixon with Anthony Hopkins not knowing how long it was (forgot to check before I went in). I started to tire around the 2 hour mark but figured it would be wrapping up soon. I was wrong. It ended up going for 3 hours and 12 minutes. The director’s cut is an extra 20 minutes and I’m in no hurry to see it again.
Other lengthy films of note include Gettysburg (4 hours and 21 minutes), Once Upon A Time In America (3 hours and 58 minutes), Dances With Wolves (the director’s cut goes for 3 hours and 56 minutes). The Lord Of The Rings trilogy also deserves a mention with each film clocking in around the 3 hour mark.
When I think about it, I’d happily sit through a great 4 hour movie than a dodgy 90 minute movie. However, you don’t often know how good a film will be before going into the theatre and setting aside over 4 hours of your time (in the case of Che) is a gamble.
Italian Film Festival
In next week’s issue, I’ll cover all the buzz from the Toronto Film Festival which wrapped up next week. I don’t have the time to squeeze it into this week’s blog.
But before I go, I have to mention the Italian Film Festival which kicks off at the Palace Centro and Palace Barracks Cinemas from Wednesday, September 30. It runs for 3 weeks and there are around 30 different films being screened. I’m heading along tomorrow for the opening night preview and hope to catch a few other films along the way.
Tickets are $16 per person and you can find out more at the festival website - http://www.italianfilmfestival.com.au/.