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Decasia (Plus: Light is Calling) [Blu-ray]

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Recognized as a "stirring, haunting, modern masterpiece" upon its release in 2002, DECASIA is a symphony of deteriorated nitrate found film footage. (Jonathan Jones, The Guardian) Drawing from a century of film history scoured from archives like the George Eastman House and the Museum of Modern Art, Morrison has assembled a poetic collage of images marked by the swirling silver abstractions created by the decomposing nitrate emulsion. The film's "thunderous and dissonant" score, written by Bang on a Can co-founder Michael Gordon, and performed by the 55-piece basel sinfonietta is presented in 5.1 surround or 2.0 stereo sound. (Dennis Harvey, Variety) The disc includes a bonus film: LIGHT IS CALLING (2004), another collaboration between Morrison and Gordon.

Review

Who knew that decay itself artfully marshaled, braided, scored and sustained could provoke such transports of sublime reverie amid such pangs of wistful sorrow? --Lawrence Weschler, The New York Times

A pure poetry of deliquescence. The images are at once haunting, mysterious and incredibly beautiful. A definitive work of art. And a new kind of documentary. A documentary documenting the decay of itself. --Errol Morris

This radical, experimental masterwork feels like the first film, and it feels like the last film. --Time Out New York

A pure poetry of deliquescence. The images are at once haunting, mysterious and incredibly beautiful. A definitive work of art. And a new kind of documentary. A documentary documenting the decay of itself. --Errol Morris

This radical, experimental masterwork feels like the first film, and it feels like the last film. --Time Out New York

Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Gordon (music)
  • Directors: Bill Morrison
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, Black & White, Dolby, Full Screen, HiFi Sound, NTSC, Surround Sound
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Icarus Films
  • DVD Release Date: December 4, 2012
  • Run Time: 67 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00ABIU5QA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,265 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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I saw this at the Walker Art Center a few months ago when Bill Morrison was here in Minneapolis and I was intrigued. Having lived in Columbia, SC before moving to Minnesota, I knew vaguely of the film collection at the University of SC that he used to create this film so it was a sort of homecoming for me.

During the movie, I found myself agitated, yet also at peace and dozing off at times. Very strange, and I found myself in love with this movie so I purchased it on Blu-Ray when I had a chance.
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Format: Blu-ray
Bill Morrison composed Decasia (2002) as a decomposing homage to Fantasia (1940). Far from being a pedestrian imitation (i.e. Fantasia 2000), Morrison's film is an astonishingly unique cinematic experience: a diaphanous visual collage juxtaposed to the music of composer Michael Gordon.

There is a breed of minimalistic new age composers espousing a play-it-safe spirituality. Gordon is not among them. He is a one of a handful of authentic, spiritually challenging voices in 21st century artmusic. Gordon's rich use of dissonance and atonal language puts him shoulder to shoulder with the likes of such 20th century artists as Luigi Nono and John Coltrane. Gordon's "Decasia," composed for the Basel Sinfonietta, is called a "symphony," and is a response of sorts for those who (often correctly) believe that the symphony, as an art form, was extended to its death in the works of Anton Bruckner and Gustav Mahler. Some would argue that Gordon's opus, a continuous movement utilizing synthesizer and electric guitar together with full orchestra, does not fit the symphonic criteria. But then, neither did Roy Harris' iconic work. Like Coltrane's "Ascension," Decasia is a demanding journey. Gordon previously came to prominence with his intimately provocative psychological opera "Alarm Will Sound." Based on Vincent Van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo regarding the ear lobe cutting incident, it is desolate and suffocatingly beautiful. "Decasia" is a further development of that aesthetic, moving beyond words to the tragedy of silence, making Morrison a quintessential collaborator.

As new opera directors rethink old chestnuts, so too does Morrison rethink Walt's innovative concert program of film imagery wedded to music.
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The first 5 minutes were ok; then I started expecting something to happen. Nothing ever happened. Nothing. Also, the music was annoying.
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