Xavier Dolan‘s Lawrence Anyways, which I have respectfully declined to see, runs two hours and 41 minutes. The joke passed around last night and today is that the ratio between the director’s age and the length of his/her film shouldn’t be any more than five, or five minutes for every year of life. Dolan is 23, so Lawrence Anyways shouldn’t have been any longer than 115 minutes. Dolan has extended the factor to 7 — i.e., 23 x 7 = 161.
David Lean was 53 when he began work on Lawrence of Arabia, which ran 216 minutes. By the rule of 5 he was entitled to make Lawrrence run 265 minutes, but he held himself in check. Peter Jackson was 43 when he began work on King Kong, which ran 187 minutes. By the 5 rule was permitted to make it 215 minutes long, so again — discipline! This is silly. I guess the 5 rule only applies to young directors.