Before he directed Breitbart News, before he directed Donald Trump’s insurgent campaign to a surprising victory in November, and before he directed the president-elect’s nascent administration as a senior adviser and consigliere, Steve Bannon directed a different kind of creative enterprise altogether. Documentary films.
Bannon—the bomb-throwing anti-establishment provocateur turned Trump whisperer—enjoyed a long and extensive dalliance with Hollywood, producing 18 films, from the 1992 Sean Penn drama “Indian Runner” to the 1999 Anthony Hopkins Shakespeare adaptation, “Titus.” He handled distribution for the independent film company Wellspring Media. Along the way, he also racked up nine directorial credits of his own, compiling a body of work replete with red-meat conservative documentaries. His oeuvre, a set of 9 films released from 2006 to 2016, included projects capturing the rise of the Tea Party, such as 2010’s “Battle for America,” and 2012’s takedown of the Occupy movement, “Occupy Unmasked.”
If you’ve never heard of these, you’re not alone: Only four appeared to have ever enjoyed even limited releases in theaters; most went straight to video, and circulated on Amazon and local libraries to a small and presumably deeply conservative audience. One, 2012’s “District of Corruption,” which is a 70-minute commercial for the work of Judicial Watch, the conservative non-partisan watchdog group that hounded Hillary Clinton over her emails, “scored the second highest per-screen average at the box office on its opening weekend,” averaging $7,374 per theater, according to a press release from Judicial Watch. Perhaps Bannon’s best-known film, the 2011 “The Undefeated,” which follows the rise of Sarah Palin, had a budget of $1 million, according to IMDb.com, and played in at least 10 theaters. Only one of his films—the Reagan love letter “In the Face of Evil,” Bannon’s 2004 directorial debut—has been rated by Rotten Tomatoes critics, who gave it a gut-punching 11 percent. This relative obscurity is, apparently, fine with the director, who clearly aimed them at a highly motivated audience. “I don’t do things for packs,” Bannon once said of his films. “I’m an independent filmmaker.”
Since Trump named Bannon his “chief strategist,” a job that gives him the president’s ear in what’s likely to be a smash mouth, mercurial White House, reporters have been riffling through his past to pin down his politics. Sure, in interviews, he’s laid out a worldview that touches on everything from “enlightened capitalism” to the decline of Christianity. And his welcoming of the white-nationalist “alt-right” on Breitbart has made him the target of protests, unusual for an adviser in an administration that hasn’t even taken office yet. But the documentaries offer a different, and rarely opened, window into how he sees the struggle America is facing. From start to finish, Bannon productions are intense, often short (they average 82 minutes), and vehicles for an extremely Darwinian, highly alarmed view of just what threatens the nation—and who might save us.
Over several days in November, I set out to watch every Bannon-directed documentary, and two others he produced. They were not all easy to find: I scoured the Apple Store and Amazon, where I rented the docs on-demand or purchased new and used copies from people with usernames like “da_grandma” and “RetroResale.” The earliest documentary, a 2004 collaboration with Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer on the glory of the Reagan days, was available at my local library. The experience was an agitprop fever dream, nine films spanning 13 hours and 11 minutes made with a “kinetic” editing style that aims to “almost overwhelm an audience,” as Bannon himself told Variety in a 2011 interview. If you imagined a Breitbart version of ESPN’s “30 for 30,” only far less subtly done, you’d be in the ballpark. They flicker with stock footage of a pride of lions noshing on a bloody zebra’s flesh, blooming flowers, rearing grizzly bears; there are towering mushroom clouds and seething Hitler speeches that flash on the screen while we hear a monologue from talking heads like Newt Gingrich and Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” fame.
If I learned one thing during this all-out assault on the senses, it was that the arc of the moral universe may be long, but it bends toward the guillotine. Western Civilization as we know it is under attack by forces that are demonic or foreign—the difference between those is blurry—and people in far-distant power centers are looking to screw you. What’s worse, Christianity and freedom are on the wane. In his documentaries, the president-elect’s man is a kind of political John the Baptist, explaining to you how bad and corrupt and Godless our country really is, and preparing the way for potential saviors to take the country back. The Big Banks, the Establishment, Hollywood, the Left, the Right—to all of them, Bannon insists, “the forgotten man” is a potential mark in a long con that threatens to topple the “Judeo-Christian West,” as he put it in a colloquywith the Vatican in 2014, according to a recording unearthed by Buzzfeed. Even Justin Beiber, Miley Cyrus and Kimye are in on the plot. More on that later.
In Bannon’s dark an apocalyptic world, where the heroes are few and the stakes are high, we’ve only a cadre of mavericks and truth tellers to protect us. They include Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich and Lou Dobbs and Michele Bachmann. An important one is Robertson, the God-fearin,’ gun-totin’ patriarch of the clan; he’s the star of Bannon’s most recent film, “Torchbearer.” It saw a limited release at 31 theaters nationwide, mostly in flyover country, and was screened at this year’s Republican National Convention, as well as at Cannes, where Robertson himself appeared, surrounded by armed guards, to promote the film.
Throughout all of the films, a Trumpian through line emerges. As you watch them, the seemingly disconnected strands of Trumpism—anti-illegal immigration, economic angst, frustration with “the Party of Davos”—form a cacophony that Bannon somehow marshals into a symphony. Start with a strong foundation of Reagan worship (Bannon’s first documentary, 2004’s “In The Face of Evil,” which seems to argue a great-man view of history, in Trump-like fashion, that Reagan alone could steer us through the Cold War). Sprinkle on a polemic about the woes of the “illegal immigration invasion” (2005’s “Cochise County, USA,” which frames illegal immigration as a “national tragedy,” and 2006’s “Border War,” which paints a bleak picture of the same topic in locales ranging from Nogales, Arizona, to Washington, D.C). Add a little economic anxiety and anti-elitism (2010’s “Generation Zero,” which tracks the origins of the 2008 financial crisis back to Woodstock and the “narcissism of the hippies”). Mix it with a glowing appraisal of the Tea Party (2010’s “Battle for America,” which covers the rise of the Tea Party movement, 2010’s “Fire From the Heartland,” which follows the once-meteoric ascent of conservative women like Michele Bachmann and Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis, and “The Undefeated,” the 2011 work that examines Sarah Palin’s career). Layer on a lament about crony capitalism, Clintonian scandals, professional protesters and Obama fatigue (2012’s trio of films“District of Corruption” and “Occupy Unmasked” and “The Hope & The Change”). Top it with Clash of Civilization and culture wars (2016’s “Torchbearer,” which focuses on Robertson). And then you realize it: Long before Trump announced his 2016 campaign, Bannon was staking out the political terrain that would later become the familiar geography of his boss’s presidential bid.
In roughly reverse chronological order, starting with the Robertson doc, I went down the Bannon rabbit hole. Soon, I would realize that the average Bannon film had all the filmic subtlety of an R. Kelly slow jam (beneath a voiceover about Sarah Palin’s many political enemies, we see a man choking another man over a table); all the historicity of a Dan Brown novel (The bank bailouts happened because hippies gathered at Woodstock?) and, in some cases, the shelf life of arugula. The same day I started watching the Robertson film, released to select theaters on October 7—as scooped by Breitbart!—news broke that “Duck Dynasty” had been cancelled.
Not long after I polished off that first documentary—images of a camouflaged Robertson pointing a rifle at me, an actual scene in the film, still haunting me—the toll of the bruising task I was about to undertake dawned on me. Only 11 hours and 37 more minutes to go, I told myself.
The first thing I learned is that in Bannon’s filmic world, there are no shades of gray, only black and white, sinners and saints, demons and angels. Here, an abridged list of “enemies” from the Phil Robertson flick: The atheist lawyer Clarence Darrow, he of Scopes’ trial fame; hippies, Hitler and Hollywood, apparently Bannon’s own Axis of Evil; the French; journalists who criticize Phil Robertson; the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele and Planned Parenthood.
Amid that cavalry of offenders enters a lone cowboy, Phil Robertson, Duck Commander-in-Chief. Over the course of the documentary, Robertson worries aloud about the potential fall of our godless Republic, a fall he apparently thinks began with the Scopes Monkey Trial. As Robertson diagnoses it, society’s ills aren’t so much illegal immigration or nuclear war or genocide or even ISIS, but Godlessness. The tagline of the film may as well be Make America God-Fearing Again. “From the guillotine to the gas chamber to the gulag,” Robertson tells the camera, “the story is always the same. When you take God out of the story of your civilization, you open the door to tyranny.”
Much of our bleak current affairs stems from hippie culture, Robertson concludes, when we turned inward and became our own gods. (This would become a motif of Bannon’s filmography, I would soon learn.) “What started out as free love and flowers in your hair ended up with the Manson Murders,” Robertson says. Wow, I thought, that escalated quickly. “Murder is mainstream, we slaughter our own children,” Robertson told Breitbart ahead of the film released earlier this year. “We priss around and parade our perversion; it’s being done in front of our very eyes. Depravity, literally. And I never thought I’d see it in my lifetime. But it has literally become mainstream.”
So goes the camouflaged philosopher’s lament about the fall of Western Civilization. Along the way, he highlights various crossings-of-the-cultural Rubicons that have lead us here: The teaching of evolution in classrooms, of course; the inventions of the guillotine (the French “totally despised Christianity”) and the atomic bomb; the rise of the “Cult of Reason” and “the worship of science.” We see b-roll of what we’re lead to believe are baby parts being harvested by Planned Parenthood victory.
Near the end of the film, we see images of Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian-West and Miley Cyrus riding lustily on her wrecking ball, which the viewer is left to assume, isn’t headed toward her ex-boyfriend Liam Hemsworth, but everything that makes America great. “You are your own God,” Robertson says, the images passing in quick succession on the screen, summarizing the spirit of our current secular age. “We go about our lives accumulating as much as we can. Seeking whatever amusements we can to distract from our emptiness, hooking up with whomever we can. We are no longer image bearers. We are crutch-driven animals following our instincts.”
At times, it’s hard to tell where Robertson ends and Bannon begins. For starters, they share a disdain of youth culture. As Bannon told his Vatican audience, “if you look at younger people, especially millennials under 30, the overwhelming drive of popular culture is to absolutely secularize this rising iteration.” But that’s merely a symptom of a larger problem that’s gripped the globe. “I believe the world, and particularly the Judeo-Christian west, is in a crisis,” Bannon told the Vatican conference in 2014 (later, he would add that “secularism has sapped the strength of the Judeo-Christian West to defend its ideals”). To return to Pax Americana, according to Bannon, we must repent of our Godless ways.
The film ends with Robertson conducting an impromptu baptism of seemingly random people—first there is “Becky,” followed by a “dude” with red hair whom Robertson simply calls “Red on the head,”— in what we assume is a Louisiana river, after he delivers a short homily on the “Gospel of God’s grace—what a message, what a hope.” A gospel song plays.
This baptism could be the beginning of a metaphorical national revival, if we wanted it to be, as Robertson and Bannon suggest we should. The invitation is there for the taking. It’s like Robertson says, in one of his many syrupy non-sequiturs, walking down the steps of the Jefferson Memorial, as the documentary rolls interminably on.
“If you have life and liberty, and you’re happy, happy, happy, what else is there?”
He lifts his hands up, forms a shruggie emoticon.
I journeyed deeper still into Bannon’s filmography, and what was a whirlwind 2012 for Bannon. In March of that year, Andrew Breitbart died of heart failure, and Bannon took over Breitbart, while also releasing three documentaries (he would have another three-documentary year in 2010!) : “District of Corruption,” the infomercial for the work of Judicial Watch, the conservative watchdog organization that released the steady drip drip drip of Clinton emails during the campaign and “changed history” by getting their man elected, according to president Tom Fitton in a post-election Breitbart editorial; “Occupy Unmasked,” an exposé on what Bannon sees as the professional protesters behind the Occupy movement; and “The Hope & The Change,” which follows 40 “hard-working Democrats and Independents who voted for President Barack Obama in 2008, and are now having second thoughts”—and which Fox News’ Sean Hannity, a regular Trump booster, gushed was “the most powerful documentary I’ve ever seen in my life.”
The first three films blur together in a haze of archival news clips. But beyond stock footage, they all blend a disdain for the establishment, which clings to power through “rigged” political and economic systems and is driven by “a form of capitalism that is taken away from the underlying spiritual and moral foundations of Christianity and, really, Judeo-Christian belief.”
“District of Corruption,” the first documentary of this period written and directed by Bannon, is a companion film to the New York Times best-selling book, “The Corruption Chronicles, Obama’s Big Secrecy, Big Corruption, and Big Government.” At its core, it’s an expose of D.C. over the last 20 years, and covers well-trodden conservative media territory. We learn about the “Chicago Gangster” Obama administration. About Bill Clinton’s Marc Rich pardon. We discover that Clinton “ran the office like a criminal mob operation.” The film frets over the influence of A.C.O.R.N and Saul Alinsky on American politics. Even George W. Bush is skewered by the film for his role in signing TARP. Wall Street’s “bailout central.” Here, if you close your eyes, you can almost hear Trump doing the voiceover: A rigged system! I remembered a Bannon line from his 2014 Vatican Skype session. “For Christians, and particularly for those who believe in the underpinnings of the Judeo-Christian West, I don’t believe that we should have a [financial] bailout,” Bannon said.
“Occupy Unmasked,” also released in 2012, represented a new moment in Bannon’s career. By then, he had cemented his relationship with Andrew Breitbart (who also appeared in the 2011 Palin film, “The Undefeated.”) Here, though, Breitbart appears as a prominent talking head explaining the chicanery and fraud of the Occupy movement. Occupy, the film argued, was really defined by “raping, pillaging, pooping.” The documentary—“really kind of an arthouse film,” the auteur, Bannon, once mused in a 2012 interview he did with the investigative journalist Lee Stranahan—predicted that “Occupy will give way to race wars.” It decried professional protestors who were allegedly paid $60 a day to join the movement. I thought of Trump’s post-election tweet: “Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!” Bannon clearly doesn’t like professional protestors. “Andrew, what are you talking about? It’s a bunch of dirty hippies,” Bannon told Breitbart, according to the Stranahan interview, when the late activist broached the idea of covering the movement. Still, he made the film.
Hipsters and protesters aside, no one in this triad of films came off worse than Obama. “The Hope & The Change” opens on hopeful images of the early days of his presidency. We meet voters from across the country, assembled by the Democratic pollster Pat Caddell, who were optimistic about the Obama era, but soon, they grew disappointed. “There’s no way that anybody who watches this film can vote for Barack Obama,” musedSean Hannity during his Aug. 24 show on Fox News. “It’s impossible. You bring us back and walk us through the whole election cycle.”
It’s in this film that we see the message of Bannon and Trump’s populism take shape.
“I feel like it’s a complete hustle, and we’re the but of a joke,” one disillusioned Obama voter said of the bailouts.
“The middle class has not gotten bailed out in this entire process,” says another.
“We’re not the big banks,” says another. “We’re not the car dealerships. We’re just small, average people, and in Obama’s eyes, we don’t count.” A rigged system, one might say.
For nearly six hours, I had subjected myself to suspenseful music played over non-suspenseful C-SPAN footage. Harried, swooping panning shots of the Jefferson Memorial at night. Crash dummies rocked in a collision to demonstrate the moral hazard of the bailouts. Conspiracy theories about Bill Clinton and Tyson’s chicken. An indistinguishable parade of white talking heads against a white background. Hundred dollar bills spread out across the screen—a visual metaphor for political bribes, if you didn’t catch it. Generic act titles such as “Filegate” and “Coda: Children of the Revolution.”
“My films are very tightly structured into acts,” Bannon said in the 2012 interview with Stranahan. “The whole film is highly structured before I run the camera on what I call the subject matter experts.” But they drone on, often in sound bites that would otherwise strike you as terrible dialogue in a film: “The most transparent administration ever,” one of those subject matter experts says, “ended up being not very transparent at all.” At least three of Bannon’s documentaries use virtually the same clip of CNBC’S Rick Santelli 2009 rant from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade, the one that gave rise to the Tea Party. “This is America! How many of you want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills? Raise their hand?” The floor boos. “President Obama, are you listening?”
I still was.
Four documentaries into the experiment, I have to admit I wanted out. I brainstormed excuses to email my editor, begging off the assignment. But I was too far down the rabbit hole to stop.
Next on my list was “The Undefeated,” the 1-hour and 57-minute paean to Sarah Palin. Bannon’s longest work, surpassing even his debut Reagan documentary by seven minutes, it traces the rise of Palin from mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, to national political phenomenon.
Bannon’s films often began with a verse of scripture appearing as white text over a black screen. In “Generation Zero,” it’s a quote from Ecclesiastes; in “The Undefeated,” it’s a passage from the Gospel of Matthew: “Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit. But a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit … by their fruits ye shall know them.” Palin, we’re left to posit, is a good tree. One-minute and 29 seconds into the documentary, we see images of cats licking themselves, apropos of nothing. Not 20 seconds later, a shadowy figure readies a handgun in front of a television screen blasting black and white static. A few cuts later a man handles a knife. Later, when we hear about how the left is attacking Palin, we see a door open in a bomber plane, and, is that a bevy of bombs falling out of the sky? Yes. Minutes later there is footage of a shark attack. It was, in a word, disorienting.
If there was a unifying theme, though, it was this: In Palin, Bannon found his first vessel: a politician who could bind together the diverse strands of his political philosophy—a missionary missile aimed straight at secularization and crony capitalism. “Whether she becomes a candidate or not for the presidency, I think these big broad themes of her life and her political life are going to play out on the national level over the next couple of years,” Bannon said in a September 2011 interview with The Palin Update, an independent radio show hosted by the Palinista Kevin Scholla.
So enraptured by Palin was Bannon that he lingered on her early days as mayor and governor for more than 60 minutes before reaching the apogee of her political career, when she was selected as Senator John McCain’s running mate in 2008. You learn more about the inner workings of Alaska’s budget process than you ever wanted to know. This movie was one of the few to be reviewed in the mainstream press, and not too kindly: “Its tone is an excruciating combination of bombast and whining,” wrote Kyle Smith, the New York Post’s film critic, “it’s so outlandishly partisan that it makes Richard Nixon look like Abraham Lincoln and its febrile rush of images—not excluding earthquakes, car wrecks, volcanic eruption and attacking Rottweilers—reminded me of the brainwash movie Alex is forced to sit through in ‘A Clockwork Orange.’ Except no one came along to refresh my pupils with eyedrops.”
“The Undefeated,” however, does feel like Bannon’s most personal film. As the screen fades to black, we see a name flash on the screen: “Doris Herr Bannon: 1922-1992.” The film ends with a quote from Thomas Paine’s The Crisis: “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” He had dedicated this film to his mother. Did The Mama-Grizzly Mater Familias remind him of her? Like 2010’s “Fire from the Heartland,” a meditation on the journeys of conservative Tea Party political women such as Michele Bachmann and Jenny Beth Martin, it seems to posit that it’s novel that women are getting involved in politics. Can you believe it? Here are all these women—and conservatives at that!—who have things to say about the direction of the U.S. government. There oughtta be a documentary made!
If Palin was Bannon’s preferred candidate to lead his anti-establishment revolution and return the U.S. to its Judeo-Christian roots, it was Reagan who provided the Platonic ideal of a revolutionary. Bannon’s seminal and most conventional documentary is his paean to the Gipper: “In the Face of Evil: Reagan’s War in Word and Deed.” It was everything you would expect a fawning Reagan documentary to be, rich in pro-Reagan interviews and archival historical footage, like the president’s “Tear Down this Wall” speech. This one also got reviewed. “A brilliant effort … extremely well done,” trumpeted Rush Limbaugh. In its review, TheWashington Post’s Desson Thomson was more circumspect, calling it “the sort of film that will make its target audience, presumably religious, right-wing Christians, heartened and possibly misty-eyed. But it’s likely to provoke hooting and hollering in less reverent circles. Being single-minded in purpose, ‘In the Face of Evil’ takes a wide berth around issues and events inconvenient to its narrative propulsion.”
Reagan is the plainspoken archetypal “great man,” who saw the world as it really was—called a spade a spade, the Republican establishment be damned!—and put it across in a style that only a few leaders have effectively mimicked (Palin, and now Trump, chief among them— “an outsider, a radical, with extreme views” as text in the Reagan trailer blares.)
“Trump is Steve’s Reagan,” Julia Jones, Bannon’s co-writer on the project, told The New York Times.
“In the Face of Evil” was also transformational for Bannon’s career arc, leading him to his first brush with Andrew Breitbart. “We screened the film at a festival in Beverly Hills,” Bannon recounted in an interview with Bloomberg, “and out of the crowd comes this, like, bear [Breitbart] who’s squeezing me like my head’s going to blow up and saying how we’ve gotta take back the culture.”
Bleary-eyed and now experiencing a low-level anxiety about nothing in particular and everything in general, I finished my trip through all things Bannon on a chilly Tuesday evening the week of Thanksgiving. Days before the rest of the nation prepared to watch television marathons of a more entertaining variety, sedated in a tryptophan-induced stupor, I found myself in a far less pleasant stupor of my own.
Was everything I thought I knew wrong? Maybe Sarah Palin’s political career wasn’t finished. Maybe the hippy culture did lead to the financial crash of 2008. Maybe Western civilization was on the verge of collapse. And here I am, wiling away the apocalypse watching indie political documentaries when I should be spending time with my loved ones.
But one thing I was sure of was that the Bannon that emerges in his documentaries is occasionally a contradiction from the Bannon we’ve come to know in recent months. For as much gnashing of teeth as there’s been about Bannon’s white nationalist ties, his documentaries largely steer clear of racial themes, though most of his subjects and talking heads are white Christians. There was Shelby Steele, the Hoover Institution fellow who calls himself a “black conservative.” In “Generation Zero,” Steele wonders how “white guilt” contributed to the financial crisis. “Since the 60s, white Americans have been in a place where they constantly have to prove that they are not racist,” he says. “It is that phenomenon of white guilt that presses people in the government to say things like ‘Everybody has a right to a house.’ Unfortunately, capitalism doesn’t work like that.”
At the end of my experience, I couldn’t help but wonder: Does Bannon actually believe these things, or does he merely see a business market in untapped, conservative moviegoing audiences? For instance, both “The Hope and the Change” and “District of Corruption” poke fun in mini-montages of Obama’s infrastructure spending and “shovel ready” projects. And yet, in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter’s Michael Wolff, Bannon boasted, “I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Shipyards, iron works, get them all jacked up. We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution—conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.” Is the Bannon whose documentaries worry about the corruptive influence of Hollywood on Obama and American culture still the same one who receives Seinfeld royalties, to which he acquired partial rights from the sale of Castle Rock that he helped broker in 1993? “People have very strong political beliefs, but at the end of the day, I haven’t met a bigger set of capitalists than I have met in this town,” he told Variety, speaking of Hollywood, ahead of “The Undefeated” release. “It is one of the most Darwinian of environments that I have ever seen.”
With Bannon’s documentary career behind him, at least for now, it doesn’t matter as much whether he precisely believes the content of his documentaries. What matters is that he certainly knows how to package a story to a specific audience. It’s easy to see Bannon becoming the keeper of Trump’s message, the necromancer of his narrative. You can see him being tasked with making a running documentary of Trump’s first years in office that plays at the RNC in a 2020 re-election campaign. After all, Andrew Breitbart once called Bannon the Tea Party’s Leni Riefenstahl, the Nazi propagandist. “People have said I’m like Leni Riefenstahl,” Bannon once said. “I’ve studied documentarians extensively to come up with my own in-house style. I’m a student of Michael Moore’s films, of Eisenstein, Riefenstahl. Leave the politics aside, you have to learn from those past masters on how they were trying to communicate their ideas.”
In Trump, Bannon has perhaps finally found the subject of his magnum opus, his greatest muse since Palin. Because Trump has given Bannon, now headquartered at 1600 Penn, his shot at a wider audience, “the packs” he once shrugged off: It’s all of us. This time, you won’t have to troll the dark corners of Amazon to find his work. And this show’s running time, already far longer than the paltry 13 hours it took me to churn through his filmography, could be measured not in hours and minutes, but years.