Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

The usual impulse, when confronted with material from cinema's early years, is to preserve, restore, recover and recuperate.

In this impressionistic meditation on life, cinema and everything, writer/director/producer Bill Morrison and composer Michael Gordon take a different tack.

The filmmaker applies all manner of distortions to the raw material he has culled from the archives, over which the composer and the 55-strong Basel Sinfonietta lay a minimalistic, modernistic soundscape of modulating drones, whines and rhythms.

Waves crash while, superimposed on top of them, protoplasmic stains metastasise. A boxer fights a foe, transformed by Morrison into a shifting entropic mass. A group of nuns and their pupils stand still, untroubled by the light and magic show around them.

Some may find Decasia's approach nihilistic, seeing Morrison's visuals as little more than Photoshop, or Kai filters, come to life and the whole thing as presenting nothing apart from a suitable backdrop for psychotropic recreation.

Others, more attuned to the anarchist maxim that 'the urge to destroy is also a creative urge', or more willing to see with their own eyes, will find Morrison's iconoclastic uses of technology to be liberating.

Reviewed on: 04 Aug 2002
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Think Mirroball for those who find Mirrorball lightweight.
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Director: Bill Morrison

Writer: Bill Morrison

Year: 2001

Runtime: 67 minutes

Country: USA


EIFF 2002

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