Filmforum screened the 6 hour version in Los Angeles, and I never have heard of a longer 9 hour version.
Has anyone here seen The Journey? That's only about 15 hours (at least, the print at Canyon Cinema is 14.5 hrs). I wonder if that will ever see a DVD release.
I believe "The Journey" is available from Facets on VHS, for a hefty price tag. I've seen about a third of the film. It has its moments. A few spots about how mass media film editing and overlapping sound-effects pre-process thought have really stayed with me. I've never watched a documentary since without mentally going back to that part of Watkins' film. Ronald Reagan's ugly face is all over the film. I remember watching the film in the Film Forum in NYC and during an interval someone who worked there came in and told us that Ronald Reagan had just died. The theater exploded in applause.
The film opens with a discussion of how nuclear weapons operate, what their components are, what the giant aluminum tubes look like. Watkins ever-present voice is heard interviewing various families from different parts of the globe showing them photos of the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, asking them what their social and political concerns are, how they feel about certain issues. Apparently this interviews take unexpected turns later on in the film (with one family member deciding to meet a member of another family Watkins' is interviewing) but I have not seen that part of the film. It's rather arresting at times but I don't want to give the impression that this is a completely successful work. "The Journey" compacts all of the worse flaws in Watkins. He let's his subjects go on for way too long even when they don't say much that can be considered very intelligent ("Why don't politicians help us!" "I believe in peace because it's important; now let me just smile for the camera and limit my political statements to hippie flourishes," etc). I remember finding large spans of the film embarrassingly naive and simply boring. I'll have to take a look at the whole film before giving a definitive opinion but I do think it's worth watching while simultaneously being one of Watkins' weakest films. I'm afraid I'll have to echo Roger_Thornhill's sentiments on "La Commune." It's a great three hour film in need of an editor. My main problem with Watkins, a filmmaker I otherwise very greatly admire, is that he leaves far too much to chance. His film-making is 'democratic' to the point of being anarchic. I'm not expecting all film makers to be Miklos Jancso, where every movement and every gesture is composed and symbolic but sometimes some of the stuff that comes out of his actors' mouths are just really lame. The "Imperialism is immoral" guy in "Punishment Park" still really gets to me. Jeezus...
Have you guys seen New Yorker's "Edvard Munch" Special Edition yet? What do you think of the added scenes? Now that "Privilege" seems to be the next film coming out I hope they'll jump on "The 70s People" and "Evening Land." They're unbelievable! And almost no one has seen them!! Maybe they could pair up "Evening Land" with "The Trap" on one DVD like they did with "The War Game"/"Culloden"?