If they ever make such a film, Andy Warhol’s Empire could serve as an artistic model. A cult classic that is seldom if ever screened outside of the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Empire runs slightly longer than eight hours. Every thrill-packed moment of it is devoted to a static image of the Empire State Building on a sultry night back in July 1964. The film was shot at 24 frames per second over 6.5 hours, but it is projected in slow motion at 16 frames per second, presumably so that moviegoers dosed with LSD can synchronize their brains to the ‘action’ on-screen, such as it is.
‘Bear Market: The Movie!’ would make Empire look like a cinematic luge ride in comparison — especially on days like Thursday, when the Dow Industrials traversed more than 1100 points up and down, only to achieve a net gain for the day of five points.
Summiting Everest in Minutes
How would the day look on film if ‘Bear Market: The Movie‘ were accelerated a thousand-fold? The entire swoon would play out in under 15 seconds. Imagine watching a documentary about mountaineers summiting Mt. Everest and returning to base. This usually take about a month. But projected in digital-video hyperdrive, the whole expedition would consume less than ten minutes. At that speed, mountain climbers shot from a distance might look little different from price-bar squiggles on a stock chart.
Unfortunately, there is no accelerating our way through a bear market. If we are in one now, it’s going to be a painful and seemingly interminable slog — one that features many gratuitous price swings like Thursday’s. At the end of it, investors will have no more appetite for stocks than moviegoers would for reruns of Empire.