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Experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison created this non-narrative feature, which derives a large portion of its visual beauty from the physical nature of the film medium itself. Decasia is primarily compiled from a wealth of old and damaged footage, in which the scratches, scraped emulsion, bubbles, streaks, and decaying nitrate add an extra dimension of texture to a patchwork of images both extraordinary and mundane. Originally created as part of a multimedia environmental performance piece, with the film screened in tandem with a performance by a 55-piece ensemble, Decasia has also been screened in a version with recorded score, composed by avant garde percussionist Michael Gordon. Decasia was screened at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. … More
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Critic Reviews for Decasia
As a musical piece, it is...able to convey mixed emotions within a very dissonant setting. But the film that goes along with it has a harder time selling its sense of self.
By presenting images that are in advanced stages of decomposition Morrison is agitating in the most powerful way on behalf of the archives fighting to rescue their holdings from disintegration.
Like Brakhage, Morrison contemplates the nature of film itself and, like Conner, he conjures an apocalyptic vision. In Decasia's case, this comes from the deformation, which turns ordinary scenes into horror-movie spectacle. Of course, despite the formal
A mesmerising meditation on life, death and cinema that recalls the heyday of the 60s avant-garde.
Decasia is what has happened already to so many silent movies, newsreels and the like. The unexpected thing is that its dying, in this shower of black-and-white psychedelia, is quite beautiful.
The film is a fierce dance of destruction. Its flame-like, roiling black-and-white inspires trembling and gratitude.
I'm sure the filmmaker would disagree, but, honestly, I don't see the point. It's a visual Rorschach test and I must have failed.
Others, more attuned to the anarchist maxim that 'the urge to destroy is also a creative urge', or more willing to see with their own eyes, will find Morrison's iconoclastic uses of technology to be liberating.
If you're the kind of parent who enjoys intentionally introducing your kids to films which will cause loads of irreparable damage that years and years of costly analysis could never fix, I have just one word for you -- Decasia
Bill Morrison's Decasia is uncompromising, difficult and unbearably beautiful.
Audience Reviews for Decasia
This film is much more interesting to read about than to actually sit through. At best, one might process it as sort of a Koyaaniqatsi-like head flick, where a montage of disconnected, slow-motion clips is accompanied with a minimalist score. But the score (composed by Bang on a Can's Michael Gordon, channeling Philip Glass and Glenn Branca) is just ugly and nagging, and a high-concept film like this really needs seductive music to sustain its momentum. Even at a mere 70 minutes, the film still felt too long.More
Decasia is an interesting concept. Take a large batch of decayed film and play it with all the phantoms created through time with appropriate music. The music chosen however doesn't change substantially throughout the production and as a result, you get repetition and boredom. It's kind of like an art gallery exhibit that you find fascinating..for two minutes.More
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