First Time: Sitting through an 8-hour movie

My family loves to watch movies. Our mall trips during weekends generally involves setting aside time for a movie. It is a shared experience and our means to bond.

Personally, I am inclined towards animated movies. Aside from being colorful, imaginative and playful, there are lots of lessons (and quotes) to be picked up in every movie. Not to take anything away from other movie genres, I just want the message to be delivered in a lighter way.

Curiosity got the best of me, however, upon hearing about Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis (Lullaby of the Sorrowful Mystery), which runs for about 8 hours (NOTE: 20 minute break was provided by the cinema after every 3 hours). First of, I was surprised that it was shown in cinemas given its run time! Thinking it will be a unique experience, I grabbed the opportunity and went for it. Prior to this one, the longest movie I watched ran for just 3 hours.

The experience

The first 2 hours was manageable, which I think was purely because it is the average runtime nowadays for a movie.

3rd to 6th hour was the struggle. Aside from being in the middle of the plot, my mind was already starting to wander elsewhere. It was almost as if my brain is telling me I have other things to do. Food is running low. Legs were getting tight. Thankfully there was a break in between. My friend was already inviting me to leave early.

7th hour felt like the longest especially since I knew it was about to end. Suddenly I almost become impatient and felt like minutes started to slow down.

8th hour was bliss. I knew the movie was ending and my brain was suddenly alert.

The movie

It was a black and white film with two key narratives: the search for Andres Bonifacio’s body and events after the failed attempt in El Filibusterismo.

Admittedly, I felt lost for around 5 hours of the movie. Its strength came in the last 2 hours, especially in the conversations between the two protagonists (Simoun and Isagani) and Simoun and a priest. The Kundimans (traditional love songs) at the start were also stunning.

Takeaway

Overall, I’d say I am not meant for this type of movie given my attention span, which has significantly grown shorter through time. Personally, I need to mature as a moviegoer to engage myself in this kind of movie both length and theme wise.

Nevertheless, it was a good experience and I am proud to say I was part of the 7 who finished the movie out of almost 20 moviegoers who started.