Decasia (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

Decasia (2002)

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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.

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Critic Reviews for Decasia

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (2)

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.

Full Review… | March 19, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

The film is a fierce dance of destruction. Its flame-like, roiling black-and-white inspires trembling and gratitude.

March 18, 2003
Village Voice
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | August 30, 2005
DVDTalk.com

It's for those who like curio films.

Full Review… | January 1, 2004
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

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.

Full Review… | December 2, 2003
Sight and Sound

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

Full Review… | October 21, 2003
Film Journal International

Audience Reviews for Decasia

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.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

This experimental film pairs a grating minimalist music score by Michael Gordon with similarly grating flashes of light composed of decaying film stock. If it doesn't lead to ruminations about entropy, it certainly succeeds as a visually jarring trip.

H. Paul Moon
H. Paul Moon

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