Since its release in 2002, Bill Morrison’s Decasia has steadily grown in stature and is now widely (and rightly so) considered a modern masterpiece. His found footage collage of our finite existence is filmic shock therapy: brutal but beautiful, terrifying yet touching.
Decasia is cobbled together from decaying footage, sourced from film archives all over the world. Morrison uses the disintegrating images to meditate on the transient nature of films – and of our very existence. He appropriates these images but charges them with a whole new meaning and resonance. This wordless essay film tackles the most profound of subjects in a sometimes grim, always graceful way.
Morrison is primarily a maker of (poetic and experimental) documentaries. His The Great Flood for instance is also not to be missed. But he did make one fiction film. Well, sort of. Using the same technique of editing together archival found footage, he tells the story of Frankenstein in Spark of Being (2010). This modern myth is a perfect fit for Bill Morrison, as he and Victor Frankenstein share the same modus operandi. They both take lifeless material from various sources, assemble it into a new whole and then breathe life into that new form with electricity (Frankenstein) or projection and music (Morrison).