Movie Review by Almiro Jorge

Director: Bill Morrison

Beautiful decay?

Sublime poetry in motion. In contrasts, awesome power is exuded from this great collection of rotten and burnt film. Composed entirely of decaying footage from archive material, the film delves deeper into the spirit of the human mind than it forcefully melts and burns onto the screen.

The film seems to be divided into parts, with the opening scene portraying a chanting eastern man, spinning round and round in a traditional dance suggesting the hallucinogenic aura of the first part, in addition to an eerie score which creates a thunderous force that is utterly asphyxiating. As soon as the score mellows down to the end of this part, it revives itself with the birth of a human being.

Using the marred film as metaphor and personification, the director tells the story of life and it’s states of decay. Step-by-step we are melodically drawn through the process of birth, growing up, death and rebirth. In a compelling scene of a boxer fighting against a foe that you cannot see as a result of the blemished film, you notice the struggle against oblivion – the constant fight of man against nothingness.

The film conjures up deep emotion in the audience – be it anger, awe or even wretchedness as it brings about a realisation that there are so many films that can never be viewed again as a result of decay. For avid avant-garde lovers, this is a must. For everyone else, this film will change perceptions of movie going.

6 out of 6 stars