In backlash against the recent phenomenon of studios recreating classic films, Swedish director Anders Weberg is producing the experimental film Ambiancé – which will have a total running time of 720 hours.
Set to be released globally on 31 December 2020, Weberg plans to destroy the only full-length copy of the film after its synchronised global screening in museums and galleries to make it “the longest film made that doesn’t exist”.
On its website, the film’s plot is described as “space and time [intertwining] into a surreal dream-like journey beyond places and is an abstract nonlinear narrative summary of the artist’s time spent with the moving image”. Weberg further referred to it as a “memoir film”, which he defined as a “biographical film filled with all the memories I have so far in life. The places I’ve been, people I met, my dreams, hope and so on. Everything in the film is linked not chronologic but more emotionally [sic].”
Weberg released the film’s initial 72-minute trailer in 2014, but also released a second one two years later which featured just a single take and totalled 7 hours 20 minutes. Weberg also planned to release a 72-hour trailer in 2018, but this never came to light.
Discussing the length of both the film, Weberg explained his interest in the number seven because of its relevance in history, myths and religion, citing examples such as the lucky number seven, seven days of the week, seven deadly sins, seven colours of the rainbow and seven notes to the diatonic scale. He also explained how 720 is the resolution for Phase Alternate Line (PAL) video, and how 720 hours is the length of exactly 30 days.
Despite this impressive length, Ambiancé will not actually be the longest film in history. This title belongs to fellow Swedish experimental film Logistics, created by Erika Magnusson and Daniel Andersson in 2012, which totals 857 hours or 35 days and 17 hours. The art film follows the production cycle of a pedometer in reverse chronological order, starting with the final sales and leading back to its manufacture. In this way the film focuses on time and consumption, highlighting the necessity of slow freight transportation systems which stand in stark contrast to our digital, fast-paced world.
After spending the last 20 years making more than 500 films and projects, Weberg has announced that Ambiancé will be his final project. Born in 1968, Weberg has spent this time working with video, photography, sound, new media and installations, and is primarily focused on the concept of identity and its portrayal through digital technologies. He has additionally created over 100 music videos after saying that he was not “good enough or handsome enough” to be a musician himself, and argues that: “I must be the most famous unknown filmmaker at the moment”.
Words by Grace Dean
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