That was three years ago. No one knows when the film will be released.
December 22, 2014 9:06 PM   Subscribe

The Never-Ending Film. Heaven's Gate, Cleopatra, Apocalypse Now. They all have one thing in common: Runaway film productions. Never-ending shoots, directors cracking under pressure. But none of them hold a candle to Dau.
posted by The Card Cheat (20 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Dovzhenko just phoned...

(Битва за нашу Советскую Украину)

Yeah, he says it's on hold.
posted by clavdivs at 9:33 PM on December 22, 2014

I was thinking about this the other day, wondering what ever became of it.
posted by codacorolla at 9:35 PM on December 22, 2014

Is there independent corroboration of any of this?
posted by anazgnos at 9:36 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

You want the GQ article that was written by the NPR interviewee.
posted by user92371 at 9:46 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here's the MeFi thread about the GQ article.
posted by Ian A.T. at 10:26 PM on December 22, 2014

Never get out of the boat. Absolutely goddamn right.

posted by clavdivs at 10:36 PM on December 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

Is this the sort of thing that would only happen in Russia, what with the ah, certain mental conditioning and all?
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:47 PM on December 22, 2014

I've been excited about this since reading the GQ article, but it seems a bit fishy that Idov's the only person that's managed to get a substantial scoop (and even then, this interview doesn't have much detail that the original article didn't).
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 11:43 PM on December 22, 2014

This is fantastic, but I don't believe it. It's too much life imitates Charlie Kaufman movie to be true.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:57 PM on December 22, 2014

How about photos?

Idov's tumblr: Dau outtakes. Photos.

Sergei's photos.


Photos/articles from Russian sites of Дау: 1 2 3 4.

Look especially at "3" and "4" (which includes aerials of the set along with an extensive article).
posted by user92371 at 1:03 AM on December 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Was there a script for this film? I can't find any reference to one, or to anything written, and that is concerning.
posted by heatvision at 4:33 AM on December 23, 2014

heatvision: the process was, they built the set, people came in, and they would stay in character for months. Never envisioned as your normal film

I apparently actually know a guy involved in the production. All he's told is that it won't be a normal film, obviously: they have 3-4 orders of magnitude too much film for that.
posted by curuinor at 5:04 AM on December 23, 2014

I was getting flashbacks to Charlie Kauffman's "Synecdoche, New York" reading that.
posted by hwestiii at 5:28 AM on December 23, 2014

The true unending film is Christian Marclay's The Clock. It is a 24-hour film synched to correspond with real time. It has no set beginning or ending point, but rather it ends only when you leave it or when the exhibitor turns off the power.
posted by jonp72 at 8:12 AM on December 23, 2014

Supposedly its done filming and in 'post-production'.
posted by empath at 8:24 AM on December 23, 2014

It reminds me of Hard to be a god, a Russian sci-fi epic by Aleksey German that was a reboot of the 1989 version (itself a troubled production): filming took 7 years (2000-2006) and post-production another 6 years. Then Aleksey German died and the film was wrapped up and released by his family in 2014. It's 170 min long and has been described by some critics as containing "2 1/2 hours of aimless wallowing in the mud" after the initial 20 minutes.
posted by elgilito at 8:55 AM on December 23, 2014

I find this fascinating. I'm a filmmaker, and always interested in alternative ways to approach making films, and this is very interesting to me. I think it could only exist with cheap digital technology. You could never afford to shoot 700 hours of 35mm. It's the same way that reality TV could only exist when you can shoot 1000 hours of footage for every episode.

It's an interesting phenomenon, and it could potentially be repeated as a production model if it works, although you wouldn't need to extend the amount of time so long. It's essentially reality TV, but it acknowledges the construction of the character more directly. It's the Truman Show, but everyone knows it's a play. I totally get the staying in character thing all the time. I used to work at Colonial Williamsburg as a character interpreter, and it's just a thing you learn how to do. You can have completely real conversations with someone, you just code switch it into a period way of talking, and replace anachronistic things with code switched replacements. I don't know about 4 years, but I can see how it would be a fun thing to do for a little bit of time, actually.

It also evokes something like The Blair Witch Project, which also wasn't scripted, and was essentially a LARP. I get what the project is attempting to do, formally and process-wise. It's really innovative, while coming out of a number of specific movements in cinema. It even connects to things like direct cinema and cinema verite, it's just that the subject matter is fictional. Fascinating.

The big test will be whether the finished film is any good. It's possible to have an all-improv project and have it be amazing, it just takes a lot of work. Editing is a bear, because that's where the screenwriting happens. I understand how it could take years and years to cut something of this scale.

If the finished film is no good, then this really interesting experiment will never get repeated again, I imagine. I'll be interested to see if the director and editor have enough self discipline to cut something coherent and story-oriented out of the material. If it's 4 hours of long takes of people sweeping the streets authentically, then it's a failed experiment, in my opinion.
posted by MythMaker at 11:30 AM on December 23, 2014 [5 favorites]

> Photos/articles from Russian sites of Дау: 1 2 3 4.

Look especially at "3" and "4" (which includes aerials of the set along with an extensive article).

Thanks, that finally convinced me this was an actual thing. Favorite bit from "3," in which the reporter is talking to Polovinkin, who is playing/being the editor of the factory newspaper and has asked him which Moscow paper he works for, Pravda or Izvestia:
начинаю рассказывать о своих друзьях и знакомых — Константине Симонове, Илье Эренбурге. Половинкин отрывается от своей тетради: «Эдинбург? Который в Шотландии?» Это провал: в 1952 году Эренбурга знают все. А вот в 2010-м у людей другие ассоциации, и мы с Половинкиным — из 2010-го, и все это, конечно, игра.

I start talking about my friends and acquaintances: Konstantin Simonov, Ilya Ehrenburg. Polovinkin tears himself away from his notebook: "Edinburgh? The one in Scotland?" That's a lapse: in 1952, everybody knows Ehrenburg. But in 2010 people have different associations, and Polovinkin and I are from 2010, and this is all, of course, a game.
I'm pretty sure Simonov and Ehrenburg are the names I would have come up with, too, if I were pretending to be a journalist from 1952.

(Interesting that yesterday I was in 1952 in Long Beach, and today it's 1952 in a fake Soviet Union!)
posted by languagehat at 12:06 PM on December 23, 2014

Wait, this isn't just some kind of ARG?
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:38 PM on December 23, 2014

So ... when will we get to see it? The Internet tells us this was scheduled to be screened at Cannes in May, but no reviews or reactions anywhere. Did they blow the deadline? Is it still in post-production, as Wikipedia tells us?
posted by evil otto at 2:46 PM on December 23, 2014

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