Monday, May 30, 2005

A Sufi dancer twirls, movie reels turn, it calls to mind the spinning that accompanies the passing of time: clocks, planets. And with that turning comes the inevitable breakdown: the chemicals of a strip of film unbond, and much more. Decasia is a one hour film experience set to a symphony by Michael Gordon, a pulsing minimalist beauty reminiscent of Reich and Glass. Filmmaker Bill Morrison combed footage salvaged from a hurricane-battered archive (among other sources) to piece together this meditative stunner. We see a boxer fighting the erosion of a cloud of mold; creepy nuns, like black angels of death, preside over the slow motion march of their young charges into darkness; people wander in bubbles of decay. Children on amusement park rides emerge on rocket ships from a chaotic blob. A baby is born.

The theme is familiar and eternal, but the way it's evoked is powerful and fresh, a striking blend of music and image. Morrison finds footage where the image and the decay comment on each other in fascinating ways, and time stands still for an hour, just long enough to find itself caught as the object of examination.

Song: "The Guns of Brixton" - a Clash song covered by Nouvelle Vague



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