Long Days Journey Into A Movie Theater

Like many people who join cults, my route to Kieslowski fandom and membership in the Church of the Dekalog looks a little goofy in retrospect. I was clearly seduced by the romanticism of La Double Vie de Veronique, not just within the movie itself, though there's plenty there--but by the whole cinema-going experience:

I'd stayed an extra day on a sudden, unexpected business trip to Paris, moving from my work hotel to a dumpy 2-star, the St. Andre, in St. Germain. La Double Vie, it turned out, was screening in a little theater on the corner, and so I went that night, blind [so to speak.] Of course, I got more from the first, Polish half of the film, because I could read the French subtitles, while the second half blew by me. I had to wait a year or more for the US release to find out why Veronique was talking to that kitschy puppeteer.

But by then, I was hooked, and I joined the ranks of people who waited for Kieslowski's true masterpiece, the largely unseen, 10-hour Dekalog to turn up at some festival or college cinematheque or wherever. Comprised of 10 1-hour-or-so episodes, it's an easier moviewatching experience in some ways than the several-marathons-length films of Bela Tarr or Jacques Rivette, but it still meant reordering a couple of days' schedules around the screenings.

Up until the back-to-back screening of The Cremaster Cycle at the Guggenheim, the longest films I'd watched were Sidney Lumet's classic Long Day's Journey Into Night, which I finally saw through twice after catching parts of it all week as I was running the projection booth at BYU. And that was only three hours [bah]...

...and Jacques Rivette's 1991 La Belle Noiseuse, which clocked in at four hours. Of course, a good portion of that four hours involved the nude artist's modelling talents of Emmanuelle Béart, so not as much watchchecking as the runtime might lead you to expect.

Anyway, this is all by way of setup for a link to Dennis Lim's report of seeing the even more mythical Rivette film, the original 12.5-hr version of Out 1: Noli Me Tangere, which has only screened a handful of times since its 1971 debut. [the 4.5-hr cut, titled Out 1: Spectre, gets a little more play.] Save the date(s), because it's coming to the AMMI's Rivette retrospective in November.

An Elusive All-Day Film and the Bug-Eyed Few Who Have Seen It [nyt]

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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first published: June 3, 2006.

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