Not all movies are made to hit at the box-office or become all-time hits but some are experimental and a showcase of fine film-making. Check out this list of longest films that will test your time and patience, at its best. Well, this would also be my longest article till now, wink!
1. Modern times forever: 2011 – 240 hr
Modern times forever was released in 2011 and is the 2nd longest movie till date. Put together by a Danish group of artists, famed as Superflex. It is grouped as an experimental film and shows the environmental effects on humankind quite distinguishingly. Masterly shows the slow decay of the Storage Endo building, Helsinki over a period of 1000 years. The well-known building is symbolized as the effects of time and weather and the end of humankind. The film was originally projected against the building.
2. Matrjoschka – 2006 – 95 hr
A 2006 film made by German artist, Karin Hoerler. It is an experimental film, that is, which pertains to any art form, dance, poetry, painting or arises from a technical source through research. In the movie, the image changes but the movements are very slow and cannot be seen directly.
3. The Cure for Insomnia – 1987 – 87 hr
The film showcases the poet, L.D. Groban, who is the only artist in the film, reciting slowly his own 4000-page poem that goes on for 3 days. It is directed by John Henry Tunnis IV and released in the year, 1987. There is no story in the film and is incorporated with X-rated film shots and rock music videos.
4. Longest most meaningless movie in the world – 1970 – 48 hr
A 1970 film, which was considered as the longest movie made till that year. It is an underground movie that consists out-dated commercials, strips of undeveloped films and other casts off materials. The movie is a fine direction of Vincent Patoullard.
5. Burning of the Red Lotus Monastery – 1928 – 27 hr
This movie dates back to 1928, directed by Zuong Sichuan. It is a Chinese silent film and was released in 19 parts between the year 1928-31. Adapted from the novel ‘Tale of the extraordinary swordsman’, the story revolves around a weak and sickly man who is sent to study in the school of Martial arts by his father after the father is defeated by a gang in a fight. During his training, he comes across a Red Lotus Monastery and discovers it’s hidden secrets while adventuring around. Sadly, the film is considered lost as no copies have survived.
6. The clock – 2010 – 24 hrs
Created by video artist Christian Marclay, also a composer, in the year 2010. The video consists of small shots from movie and television that features clocks and timepieces. The film was edited by the technique of supercut, that is aggressively editing shots of film to condense time and space. The film was marvelously presented with synchronization of the time shown in the film with the actual time. It was debuted in the White Cube art gallery and was purchased by big museums. It won Golden Lion Award at the Venice Biennale, 2011.
7. 24 Hour Psycho – 1993 – 24 hrs
The movie is nothing but a slower version of the 1960 movie, Psycho. The film is edited 2 frames per second, normally which is 24 frames. The film is directed by Douglas Gordon and was released in the year 1993.
8. **** – 1967 – 25 hrs
****(Four stars) is an Avant-garde or experimental film directed by pop artist Andy Warhol, made in 1967. Each reel of the film is 35 minutes long. Warhol showcases factory life in this piece where he casted, what he calls Warhol’s “Superstars” in the movie. The film was considered beautiful but hard to decipher as compared to his earlier and more famous work, Chelsea girls.
9. Cinématon – 1984 – 16 hrs
French director, Gérard Courant captured 16-hour vignettes of various artists, journalists, directors and actors in the film. A 3-minute 25-second impressionistic scene of focus on every artist portraying their act of the moment. For eg, Terry Gilliam is seen eating a 100-franc note while Samuel Fuller is smoking a cigar. Many artists who were a part of this were directors Barbet Schroeder, Nagisa Oshima, Volker Schlöndorff, Ken Loach, Benjamin Cuq, Youssef Chahine, Wim Wenders, Joseph Losey, Jean-Luc Godard, Samuel Fuller and Terry Gilliam, chess grandmaster Joël Lautier, and actors Roberto Benigni, Stéphane Audran, Julie Delpy and Lesley Chatterley.
10. La Flor – 2018 – 14hr 28m
A 2018, Argentine film written and directed by Marian Llinas, about 4 women in 6 episodes. The stories are told in the beginning and finish in medias re, meaning, in the middle of, for first 4 episodes. The 5th episode has the story from start to finish and 6th is the conclusion.
11. Resan – 1987 – 14 hr 33 min
Peter Watkins made this movie from the year 1983-87. In actuality, this is a documentary that Watkins shoots covering all continents, talking to common people about their awareness of nuclear weapons, military, and poverty. It is the longest non-experimental till date. It has been screened on very few occasions since it’s release.
12. How Yukong moved the mountain – 1976 – 13hr 43 min
Dutch director, Joris Ivens, and actor, Marceline Loridan got together with Chinese film-makers to create this long documentary on China, during the end days of Cultural Revolution. The long film was edited to 12 parts and released. Capturing the essence of a Revolution through the eyes of the ordinary people during the years 1972-74, it marks some important aspects of the Chinese culture, immensely capturing the end of an era. It was released in the year 1976 and received acclaims for its stand-out work.
13. Out 1 – 1971 – 12 hr 53 min
A brilliant work by Jacques Rivette, creating plots of many characters, interweaving with new characters with their own subplots and ultimately crossing their paths after a long stretch. The film starts with the focus on 2 theatre troupes, rehearsing plays, Seven against Thebes and Prometheus bound, then slowly tuning with stories of a con- artist and a petty thief, ultimately getting together to form a secret group of “The Thirteen”. The 13 hour-long films was divided into 8 parts and released in 1971.
14. Evolution of a Filipino Family – 2004 – 10hr 30m
A 10 years work of the director, Lav Diaz, who brought together a fine film of 11 hours approx. The story retells the history of Philippines during the era of Marco’s dictatorship. The story of a Filipino family falling to poverty and hopes attached for revival, clearly outlining the situation of the then Philippines. The technique of story-telling by putting in dialogues and sound to mention the history, that is, hearing through the sounds used and relating to the situation how it actually was, is commendable. The film is highly informative and a clear idea of life’s misery.
15. The human condition 1: No greater love – 1959 – 9hr 39min
The first of the Japanese Trilogy, ‘The Human condition’ directed by Masako Kobayashi. A Japanese rebel who works as the manager of a mining lot of Chinese laborers objects to the suppression and works for lifting up working conditions of the laborers. Later, finds himself attending to the needs of war-time Japan.
16. Tie Xi Qn: West of the tracks – 2003 – 9 hr 26min
Is considered a most important documentary of the 2000s. Adept direction and editing by Wang Bing, this documentary was captured in the duration of 2 years from 1999-2001, showing the slow decline of China’s Industrial Tiexi district, a successful example of China’s socialist economy. It shows the effects of closing down of factories due to introduction of free market and new industries, on the people. Wang Bing created this piece on 3 stages, Rust Remnants and Rails. Rust, shows a group of factory workers getting affected with the deteriorating equipments of the factory and poisonous gases. The second part, Remnants, show teenage children coping up with the closing down of the factories. The last stage, Rails, condense down to a single family who scavenge the rails to sell raw materials to factories. It is considered the most acclaimed film of the 21st century.
17. Shoah – 1985 – 9hr 26min
A movie which could leave you struggling with your own emotions. A documentary put together solely by director Claude Lauzmann, who spent 11 years to compile and show the world a masterpiece. The film is about Holocaust survivors and witnesses across Poland, whom Lauzmann interviews. A more than 9 hours of anger and pain but still an outstanding storytelling. Film reviewer Roger Ebert calls it, “A long but not a slow movie that will change our point of view towards holocaust”. The film was released in 1985 and received critical acclaim. It also bagged awards- The New York film critics Circle award and BAFTA award for best documentary.
18. Death in the land of Encantos – 2007 – 9 Hrs
Another of a classic slow movie by Lav Diaz. Released in the year 2007. The film is a documentary as well as a fiction which revolves around a poet who visits his hometown, Padang, during the aftermath of the Super typhoon that hit the city of Philippines in 2006. The film is marked with heavy dialoguing and Diaz’s attempt to create a fictional story around the disaster is a fine work to watch. The emotional condition of the poet who is back in his village to confront and bury his father, mother and sister and finally meet his death there, is commendably captured. Diaz also included some of his in-person interviews that he took while filming.
19. Heremias – 2006 – 9 hrs
Lav Diaz created this fiction in the year 2006. The story of a merchant who part ways with his fellow mates and gets involved among criminals in the jungle.
20. Taiga – 1958 – 8 hr 31 min
A documentary by German filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger about the region of Taiga, in Mongolia, capturing the rainforest beauty and the life and culture of the Reindeer tribe. The work marvellously films moments of the tribe including a wedding by the shaman and their very own Olympics. Considering the length, the documentary film was released in 3 different parts.
21. Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis – 2016 – 8h 5m
The movie literally translates to A lullaby to the sorrowful mystery
Lav Diaz makes this film on the Phillipines National hero and revolutionary Andres Bonifacio. He has also included the investigation of José Rizal’s death and the Spanish colonialization and it’s oppression on people, in the movie. It fell on mixed reviews by the critics calling it not so impressive work by as great a filmmaker as Diaz.
22. Empire – 1965 – 8 hr 5 min
Another of Avant-garde cinema by Andy Warhol capturing the view of Empire State building from evening till 3 am the next day. The film is in slow motion reducing to 16 frames per second. The film does not have any narration or character and the only purpose by the director is to see the time passing by. This 1964 work is in black and white and is described as an influential work by Warhol.
23. War and Peace – 1966 – 8 hr 4 min
A 1966 film, re-creation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel War and peace. Story of a Russian prince who is facing Napoleon’s army just around the corner and simultaneously struggling relations with his father and wife. Director Sergei Bondarchuk created this magnificent Russian historical film with praises for its magnanimous battles scenes. The movie was released in 4 parts.
24. Melancholia – 2008 – 8 hr
Lav Diaz won Horizon prize for the best film in the 65th Venice Film Festival for this 2008 film. Three people go under a strange role-play therapy in order to overcome their depression. The movie is divided into parts and meets with a heartbreaking end. Ronnie Schieb of Variety fame, calls this “ Lav Diaz’s latest madly uncommercial magnum-opus”.
25. Imitation of Christ – 1967 – 8 hr
A beautiful film written and directed by Andy Warhol. A misfit boy passes his time as the maid feeds him cornflakes and reads him De Imitatione Christi, a spiritual guide. While his parents argue over their son’s problems and struggle to admit their physical attraction towards him. The concept so like, Warhol’s. This 1967 film was released in a shorter version before.
26. The Photo-Drama of Creation – 1914 – 8 hr
Dates to as long ago as 1914
A film produced by Watch Tower Bible and Tract society of Pennsylvania. Directed by Charles Taze Russell, the film follows everyone’s differing beliefs on God’s plan from the creation of Earth to the 1000 year reign of Christ.
27. O.J. Simpson: Made in America – 2016 – 7h 47m
A 2016 documentary directed by Ezra Edelman about the football player O.J. Simpson. It explores the emerging and downfall of Simpson’s career till, when he was charged and imprisoned for a murder. Also, highlights the Racial struggle in America.
28. The Wake – 2000 – 7 hr 42 min
This 2000 film was directed by Michael Kvium & Christian Lemmerz. It is based on Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce. A video showing Joyce’s dreams into pictures.
29. Sátántangó – 1994 – 7h 30m
A Hungarian art film under a super direction of Bela Tart. It was released in 1994 and widely acclaimed considering it the greatest film ever made. The film deals with the effects of the fall of communism in Hungary. The story about a village whose only income source, a factory is closed down and the few locals whose only hope lies in a cash payment to be received due to the shuttering.
30. Hitler: A Film from Germany – 1977 – 7 hr 22 min
It must be the longest film made on Hitler. There is no plot but the film is divided into 4 parts starting from describing Hitler’s personality and propagandas to the pre-nazi culture of Germany to the Holocaust and idea behind it and finally climaxing to André Heller talking to a puppet of Hitler on how they destroyed Germany. The film was directed by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg and starring Heinz Schubert.
31. Lamentations a Monument for the Dead World – 1985 – 7 hr 7 min
R. Bruce Elder gives a different and darker meaning to the Egyptian Book of the dead, which is a religious book on preaching how to preserve the dead and prepare for afterlife. In this audio-visual representations, philosophies through meditation, XC super imposed texts is portrayed. Depiction of comical but disturbing Franz Liszt, debates between Issac Newton and George Berkeley;an agent man and an arrogant psychiatrist; finally, hunt for salvation in the forests of British Columbia, southwest America and Mexican Yucatan valley.
32. The Movie Orgy – 1968 – 7 hr
A compilation of film clips, commercials and film trailers by director Joe Dante and producer Jon Davidson. The film’s comprises of early TV commercials, newsreel, A-bomb footage, cartoons, sci-fi movies and most adorable Andy’s gang of puppeteer-controlled cat and mouse performing “Jesus loves me”.