DVD Review: Jan Troell’s The Emigrants and The New Land work best as one very long movie

Discussions of the longest films ever made never mention Jan Troell’s The Emigrants and The New Land, because they’re technically two separate works, released a year apart in 1971 and 1972. Their combined running time is a hefty six hours and 33 minutes, however, and they play very much like a single epic, with the opening scene of A New Land picking up right where the final scene of The Emigrants leaves off. Recognizing this, Criterion has chosen to release them as a unit, encouraging back-to-back viewing. There’s precedent for this approach—the six-hour Italian mini-series The Best Of Youth, for example, was released in the U.S. as a two-part movie, which many viewers watched in its entirety over one day—but it benefits Troell’s diptych particularly well. Telling the story (adapted from a cycle of four novels by Vilhelm Moberg) of a 19th-century Swedish …

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