Sostituto Epics

It is happening… again.

The cinemas are dark once more – and not just terrible soul-destroying cinemas like the Odeon Beckenham, but also wonderful, life-affirming picture houses like the Prince Charles and the Peckhamplex.

They’ll be back, but we’ve still got a lot of time to pass. So how about recreating the kind of screening able to deliver some of the greatest highs of the cinematic life?

Not sing-a-alongs, because they are stupid, but epics – films long enough for life (and vaccine roll-out) to move on significantly before they are over. The kind of movies that get our pictured mascots, Matt and Jeff, pumped and reaching for their pillows.

The programme isn’t settled yet so this is a chance to help shape things. Here are the items under consideration at the moment:

Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980)

Fifteen hours and thirty one minutes!

The big one. El gordo. Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 14 part adaptation of Alfred Döblin’s novel. In late-1920s Berlin, Franz Biberkopf is released from prison and vows to go straight. [Update: chosen for our first epic!]

Happy Hour (2015)

Five hours and seventeen minutes!

Is the title ironic? You could fly from DC to LA in that time. I took sandwiches. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s film is a magnificent tale of four thirty-something women in the misty seaside city of Kobe. It will stay with you.

Sátántangó (1994)

Seven hours and nineteen minutes!

Residents of a collapsing collective farm in 1990s Hungary see their plans turn into desolation when they discover that Irimiás, a former co-worker who they thought was dead, is coming back to the village. Béla Tarr’s contemplation of boredom, decay and misery (New York Times) will have you whistling its tunes for weeks.

Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)

Three hours and twenty two minutes!

A lonely widowed housewife does her daily chores, takes care of the apartment in which she lives with her teenage son, and does sex work to make ends meet. Chantal Akerman’s film is immersive cinema (in a good way).

Shoah (1985)

Nine hours and twenty six minutes.

One that needs watching. Claude Lanzmann’s epic documentary recounts the story of the Holocaust through interviews with witnesses – perpetrators as well as survivors.

Out 1 (1971)

Twelve hours and nine minutes!

Very French, so that’s good. Following the May 1968 civil unrest, a deaf-mute and a con artist simultaneously stumble upon the remnants of a secret society. Jacques Rivette and Suzanne Schiffman take their own sweet time to tell the story. Plus: Jean-Pierre Léaud! Touch me not!

Get in touch to let us know your preferences and your even better ideas. If we can make this happen, the bad times will fly by.