The long and the short of film viewing

For someone who struggles to sit through 20 minutes of adverts at the cinema, the release this week of a film which lasts five hours and 55 minutes could cause me some problems, though it still has a long way to go to beat the record for longest film ever made.

Out today is French drama Carlos, the story of real-life terrorist, Carlos the Jackal, who rose to prominence in the 1970s with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, before making a name for himself as a leftist guerilla in the Middle East.

The film began life as a three part TV series, only to be cut down into a six hour version for film festivals. There is a three hour cut available, but the Filmhouse are inviting brave souls to sit down for the full-length film on Sunday evening.

As I mentioned above, Carlos may be lengthy, but consider for a moment the poor unfortunates who have tried to sit through director Gérard Courant’s experimental film, Cinématon, which runs to a staggering 154-hours and which took 34 years to make.

Made up of over 2000 silent vignettes, each one clocking in at 3 minutes and 25 seconds, the scenes feature various friends of the director acting out sections of their lives, Terry Gilliam, Julie Delpy and Ken Loach just three of the participants.

Slightly more appealing is British director Douglas Gordon’s 1982 film, 24 Hour Psycho, which features Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 picture, Psycho, slowed down to just 2 frames per second, rather than the standard 24. This means it lasts exactly 24 hours, and Gordon was known to show the film to interested parties in his bedroom. Whether they were allowed a shower after is unknown.

At the other end of the spectrum there’s the world’s shortest film, which you can find at www.the1secondfilm.com. Their one second film is animated and each frame is a giant painting, each one created at a collaborative party.

Over at the site, wannabe filmmakers and producers can get involved and find out more, with Kiefer Sutherland and Pierce Brosnan already part of the scheme which will end up supporting the charity, The Global Fund for Women.

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