This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

8Jan/14

DECASIA

DECASIA (Bill Morrison, 2002)
IFC Center
323 Sixth Ave. at West Third St.
January 8-16
212-924-7771
www.icarusfilms.com
www.billmorrisonfilm.com

Experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison’s production company is called Hypnotic Pictures, and for good reason; the Chicago-born, New York-based auteur makes mesmerizing, visually arresting works using archival found footage and eclectic soundtracks that are a treat for the eyes and ears. Several of his films were shown at a terrific 2012 retrospective at the World Financial Center, including The Miners’ Hymns, Spark of Being, The Great Flood, and his masterpiece, Decasia. Now, in conjunction with the theatrical release of The Great Flood, running January 8-16 at the IFC Center, Decasia will be screening there as well, in an HD digital projection, daily at 2:40 and 6:20. Made in 2002, Decasia is about nothing less than the beginning and end of cinema. The sixty-seven-minute work features clips from early silent movies that are often barely visible in the background as the film nitrate disintegrates in the foreground, black-and-white psychedelic blips, blotches, and burns dominating the screen. The eyes at first do a dance between the two distinct parts, trying to follow the action of the original works as well as the abstract shapes caused by the filmstrip’s impending death, but eventually the two meld into a single unique narrative, enhanced by a haunting, compelling score by Bang on a Can’s Michael Gordon, which begins as a minimalist soundtrack and builds slowly until it reaches a frantic conclusion. The on-screen destruction might seem random, but it is actually carefully choreographed by Morrison, who wrote, directed, produced, and edited the film.

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