There’s something intriguing about an expansive movie where its length mirrors the depth of its narrative.
Over the years, numerous films have dared to extend their runtimes, ensuring that the story holds the audience’s attention throughout. The “Godfather,” with its rich storyline, is an example of a film that keeps viewers engrossed despite its length.
“Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” with its 3 hours and 21 minutes, didn’t just enchant audiences but also bagged the Best Picture award.
Other lengthy cinematic marvels include “The Deer Hunter” at 183 minutes and the classic “Gone with the Wind” at 238 minutes.
And who can overlook Abel Gance’s 1927 epic “Napoleon,” which runs for an impressive 5 hours and 30 minutes, heralded as a cinematic treasure. However, overshadowing all these is the 2012 Swedish documentary “Logistics.”
With a mind-blowing duration of 857 hours, this film offers over 35 days of continuous viewing!
Diving into ‘Logistics’
Given the staggering duration of “Logistics,” one can’t help but wonder: what story warrants such an extensive portrayal in the longest film ever produced?
And practically speaking, how does one even manage meal or bathroom breaks during such a viewing, let alone stay awake without some sci-fi mechanism?
The film’s conception traces back to 2008. Swedish filmmakers Erika Magnusson and Daniel Andersson stumbled upon a German newspaper article detailing the making of an electric toothbrush, a seemingly simple device whose components originated from ten distinct countries.
The article illuminated the intricate dance of the global economy, shedding light on the elaborate processes that deliver common devices to the everyday consumer.
This revelation sowed the seed for “Logistics.” Magnusson and Andersson aspired to chronicle the lifecycle of one such device — from its inception to its purchase.
Their goal? To underscore the public’s limited awareness of the complex backstories behind everyday items, or what Andersson termed a “false sense of familiarity.”
The filmmakers opted for an item emblematic of the ubiquitous yet overlooked items filling our daily lives. Their pick? A pedometer.
This simple device launched their ambitious journey, taking them from Stockholm to Gothenburg’s port, aboard the world’s most massive container ship, sailing the Mediterranean, traversing the Suez Canal, and across the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean.
Their destination? The port of Shenzhen and a factory in Bao´an, China.
Why Is ‘Logistics’ So Long?
The idea behind the documentary is certainly engaging, but why the need for such an extensive runtime to explain the origin of our everyday gadgets (yes, many are from China)?
According to the Logistics Art Project, the documentary aims to highlight a fact that’s often overlooked in our swift, digital age: our digital lives heavily rely on the slow, intricate physical transportation and distribution systems. There aren’t any fast tracks in this journey.
So, in keeping true to its message, the documentary portrays the trip from Stockholm to Bao´an in real-time. The film’s length mirrors the actual time it takes for even the most basic items to reach consumers.
The Quest for the Title of “Longest Movie Ever”
Venture into the world of documentaries, and you’ll find several contenders for the crown of the “longest movie ever.” There’s Claude Lanzmann’s critically acclaimed Shoah at 9 hours 26 minutes.
Then there’s the misleadingly named The Longest Most Meaningless Movie in the World which lasts 48 hours. Another contender, The Cure for Insomnia, goes on for 87 hours.
Beijing 2003 impressively touches the 150-hour duration. Modern Times Forever? It runs for 10 days straight. Yet, none of these come close to the length of Logistics.
Simply put, Logistics takes its time, shedding light on the intricate processes of modern life that many take for granted. It immerses viewers in the intricate journey of getting everyday items into consumers’ hands.
It reveals the immense network and processes, often unnoticed, that modern society relies on. For those who can’t dedicate 35 days to watch it, there’s a condensed 72-minute version available.