There are long shots in film and then there are really long shots in film. I've always been fascinated by filmmakers that try to compose their film of only a few shots or even one. It's hard enough to try to put a film together but it's on another level trying to do everything in one take. Imagine making a film with over 10 minute takes and on minute 9 an actor screws up his line, now that film is now completely wasted. In Hitchcock's 1948 film Rope the director tried to create a film with only 11 shots, at the time this was a crazy notion and even crazier for a Hollywood film.
Andy Warhol and filmmaker Jonas Mekas' film Empire took the next step in 1964 when they created this 485 minute experimental film. Using 16mm film allowed the duo to now have up to 33 minute takes rather than being further restricted by 35mm film.
With the invention of the digital medium all the restriction were lifted, there was no longer a need to unload and re-load film and now the one take film could be created. Timecode, Russian Ark, PVC-1 and La casa muda are all feature length films that were shot in one take. It's something truly special to see how these films work and just thinking about making a film like this makes my brain hurt.
But the long takes don't stop there! Birdman staring Michael Keaton has just been released in four theaters and much like Rope the film only consists of a few takes but looks as if there are none. So there it is kids, take risks, fail and then take some more cause you never know what can happen.