Decasia: The State of Decay Bill Morrison

Decasia: The State of Decay Bill Morrison
A film about falling apart and slipping out of a sense of time and tone, Bill Morrison's Decasia splices together black and white film footage found in archives from around the world that has stood the test of time and is now showing its chemically and other deterioration-based marks. Paced to a score by Michael Gordon that echoes the film's intrinsically subdued and haunting theme through the detuning of a symphony performed by the 55-piece Basel Sinfonietta, the process leans toward a naturally dark emphasis on that quintessential by-product of physical existence: wear, tear and an end. A truly mesmerising, at times hallucinatory, experience, namely for the droning music's relationship with the stark, rhythmically flashing visuals, Decasia even comes with a warning for people prone to photo-sensitive seizures. But for all its depth and magically collapsible images and imagery, there's one real flaw with the DVD: its sheer weight. This is not something you can put on in the background; Decasia is clearly a project designed for undivided attention, which, admittedly, it deserves. But the extras on the disc are minimal, begging the question: how many times do you really want to be reminded of your own physical decay, especially after you see it shown to you so poignantly once? Decasia would not be a film to miss if screened in a public place on a large screen but this DVD preservation of a project so physically removed from the essence of its original physical medium is a serviceable compromise. Plus: audio from a TV interview with the director and composer. (Plexifilm/Sonic Unyon)