Did you think Avatar was a little long? Did you check your watch during Schindler’s List, shuffle in your seat during Dances With Wolves, wonder when Funny People would end or why Celine Deon’s heart had to go on and on and on in Titanic? Or perhaps you were one of an elite breed of mentally challenged people who sat through Kenneth Branagh’s extended edition of Hamlet, which lasted for four hours and two minutes?

All these films are long and hefty investments with numb-the-bum running times. But they pale in comparison to Modern Times Forever, an ambitious new feature from a Danish production company called Superflex, which premiered earlier this week as part of a modern art festival held in Helsinki. How long does the film last, you might ask? Four and half hours? Four and three quarters? Five? SIX??

Not even close. Modern Times Forever runs for – and the film is clearly some kind of deranged experiment in audience attrition – an unprecedented 240 hours. It is currently playing and lasts for — egad! — 10 days, which makes it reportedly the longest film in history.

Jack Warner famously rated movies according to the number of times he had to go to the bathroom, i.e. “a three piss picture.” I wonder how would this film have fared. A 200 piss picture?

In terms of the story — well, by the sounds of things there isn’t one. Modern Times Forever is about a building (an office block called ‘Hensinki’s Stora Enso building’ — pictured top left) and the film captures it over many years, in the past and future,  compresseing centuries of decade into the 10 day running time.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Apart from being present in our everyday lives, quietly changing for ten days, the film’s time races ahead at an estimated several-hundred-year gallop each day. The film is a fiction about what could happen to the Stora Enso building as an architectural and ideological symbol, over the next few thousands of years, if the days of humankind come to an end, and only time and the weather affect the building.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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