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UK: BFI (Access)
Director: Bill Morrison
UK: 67 mins
UK Certificate: U
UK Release Date: 3 October 2003 (Limited Release)
DECASIA is composed entirely of decaying, nitrate-based archival footage which seems to melt, burn, drip and deteriorate before our eyes. In his search for striking examples of emulsion deterioration, Bill Morrison examined close to a 1000 archive prints from numerous collections. But DECASIA is no mere celebration of the psychedelic beauty of decay, for Morrison has deliberately chosen images which seem to push back against their own physical disintegration. In his own words: "I was clearly drawn to those images where there was a dialogue between the image and the filmstock it was printed on... examples of man defying his own mortality as in religious acts, or death-defying or heroic acts. The deterioration of the film seemed to belie the images portrayed on it."
Inspiring and infinitely suggestive, this haunting tapestry of long lost, partially erased images - a procession of nuns, the rescue of a man from drowning, a boxer relentlessly targeting his mysteriously obliterated opponent - testifies not only to the fragile nature of film but to the transience of all human endeavour. Set to an eerie symphonic score by Michael Gordon which has been likened to the sound of a plane crashing in slow motion, DECASIA reminds us, as Morrison himself puts it, of 'the many dreams we forget upon waking'.
DECASIA will be showing with Morrison's award-winning short THE FILM OF HER, composed almost entirely of early 'found' footage, which pays homage to the rescuers of the famous paper print collection of the Library of Congress.