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December 10, 2003

The longest line
Posted by Teresa at 10:59 PM *

The Longest Line is a Quicktime movie that’s about—what, five minutes long? Something like that. It was directed by Masanori Fukumoto, and was filmed on Sunday, November 30, at the opening of the new Apple store in Tokyo’s Ginza district. Review: The outside of the store looks kind of like a giant Powerbook, complete with glowy white apples. The inside of the store looks just like the Apple store in Soho. You can read more about it in Antipixel, if you’re interested.

Anyway, the movie itself is just a long, long tracking shot along the line of Japanese people, block after block of them, waiting to get into the store. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but there’s something weirdly cool about it. It’s not like they’ve got a song-and-dance number by a badger with giant balls, nothing like that, but in its own way it’s definitely trippy.

Comments on The longest line:
#1 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 10:11 AM:

Sort of reminds me of "Access Fantasy," Jonathan Lethem's story in one of the Starlight collections (2? not sure). I also get a T.C. Boyle vibe from it-- no specific story of his, but it seems like something he'd write.

#2 ::: Adam Rice ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 01:31 PM:

When I lived in Japan, I observed a phenomenon where one magazine or another (but usually Hanako) would annoint some place as the place to go. This would immediately result in a line out the door, which would persist for months. I remember seeing a freaking *noodle shop* with a line out the door, and there's a noodle shop every other block in Tokyo. I remember seeing a sign reading something like "as mentioned in Hanako" in the display window at a store in *San Francisco*.

Clearly there's a stronger flocking instinct there than there is here (though I admit, when I was in college, if I saw a line, I would sometimes get in it first, and find out if I belonged in it second).

#3 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 01:42 PM:

Great footage—but hmmph. I ain't too impressed with the video quality. No reason a 6.5 min video has to be 30MB! Data rate's way too high, too. Time for Fukumoto to buy Squeeze or Cleaner, I reckon.

#4 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 01:49 PM:

I guess I'm just naturally suspicious -- the second time I watched it I kept my eyes on the background and also watched for obvious places to digitally splice -- it looks legit to me.

And yeah, weird cool.

#5 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 02:10 PM:

I'm a Mac fan, but it sounds like this video is just *screaming* to be intercut with clips from the 1984 Mac commercial, and/or the 1985 'lemmings' commercial.

#6 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 02:31 PM:

I've been warned not to be pedantic, but:

(1) All lines in Euclidean space are infinite.
(2) Only line segments have ends.
(3) In our universe, if you go long enough, you end up where you started.
(4) As Kurt Godel proved in 1949, down the hall from Einstein at Institute for Advanced whatchamacallit at Princeton, if the universe as a whole is rotating, and you go all the way around, fast enough, you arrive before you left.
(5) The line of dinosaurs marching into the desert to be extinctified, in Disney's "Fantasia" which makes no sense, but I found so moving when a child.
(6) What's the name of that SF story about people finding themselves on a line stretching over the horizon, of aliens?
(7) Isn't that "queue" in Britain?
(8) Anyway, here in the Greater Hollywood Megalopolis, people are paid to wait in line for certain celebrity events, and I'm told that this is routinely done in Congress for important debates.

What was the first movie where people waited on line overnight? Star Wars 2? I like sneak previews and premiers as much as the next geek, but sidewalks are cruel to sleeping bags.

#7 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 02:39 PM:

from Olaf Stapledon ("The Flying Men") a short piece related to "Last and First Men"):

"Their leaders, conferring together, saw clearly that the day of Flying Man was done, and that it would be more fitting for a high-souled race to die at once than to drag on in subjection to contemptuous masters. They therefore ordered the population to take part in an act of racial suicide that should at least make death a noble gesture of freedom. The people received the message while they were resting on the stony moorland. A wail of sorrow broke from them. It was checked by the speaker, who bade them strive to see, even on the ground, the beauty of the thing that was to be done. They could not see it; but they knew that if they had the strength to take wing again they would see it clearly, almost as soon as their tired muscles bore them aloft. There was no time to waste, for many were already faint with hunger, and anxious lest they should fail to rise. At the appointed signal the whole population rose into the air with a deep roar of wings. Sorrow was left behind. Even the children, when their mothers explained what was to be done, accepted their fate with zest; though, had they learned of it on the ground, they would have been terror-stricken. The company now flew steadily West, forming themselves into a double file many miles long. The cone of a volcano appeared over the horizon, and rose as they approached. The leaders pressed on towards its ruddy smoke plume; and unflinchingly, couple by couple, the whole multitude darted into its fiery breath and vanished. So ended the career of Flying Man."

#8 ::: Andreas ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 05:24 PM:

'(6) What's the name of that SF story about people finding themselves on a line stretching over the horizon, of aliens?'

That could be 'ROAD OF SKULLS' from Iain Banks.

#9 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2003, 11:03 PM:

Dear Andreas,

Not the story I'm looking for. But I did read and like 'ROAD OF SKULLS' from Iain Banks.

Spoiler Warning:

It seems to be generic Dark Fantasy or Horror, but at the very ending you realize that it is altogether a different genre. Tricky author! Good read...

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