BILL MORRISON: SELECTED FILMS 1996-2014
In the truest sense of the term, Bill Morrison makes found footage films. Utilising snippets of often ignored and tragically forgotten archival film stock, he has created a filmography of more than thirty pieces of work over a career spanning twenty years. Some of his films are as short as six minutes; others expanded to full feature-length, but more than anything else they are always striking.
This compilation includes some of the most noted and varied of Morrison’s works, with each film clearly demonstrating the filmmaker’s vision and style. The haunting Ghost Trip is one of the most conventional of those included, with new footage blended with archival as Morrison explores the macabre with a black-clad cowboy, who may or may not be dead, travelling in a hearse across America. Spark of Being is the filmmaker’s classical drama, presenting a version of the Frankenstein legend in this unique format. Set against a soundtrack created by musician Dave Douglas from similarly archived music samples mixed with new pieces written for the trumpet this is an intriguing film, with Morrison’s montage retaining much of the essence and atmosphere of this well-known story.
Considered by many to be Morrison’s masterpiece, Decasia is constructed from the same source of archive footage, but with the added strangeness that the sections of film are all severely distressed; some to the point of obscuring the footage completely. With an aggressive score from Michael Gordon, Decasia is a difficult film to truly enjoy and is perhaps one that requires a certain mindset to view.
Bill Morrison is an artist who has chosen film as his medium. The fact that much of his work has been “exhibited” in museums and art galleries (with many having commissioned specific pieces) as much as screened in cinemas is perhaps telling. There is a sense of being educated through the viewing of his work, similar perhaps to sitting through a lecture delivered by an expert in a given field; you know it’s doing you good, it’s just hard to really enjoy it.
Although not definitive this collection does offer an insight with Morrison’s most interesting pieces (included are 17 films over 3 discs). He is a pioneering and innovative filmmaker and his films deserve to be seen by a wider audience. The truth is though, that like other revered forms of art such as jazz or cubist paintings; it just won’t be for everyone.
Extras: Bill Morrison: The Film Archaeologist / Extensive Illustrated BookletINFO: CERT: E / DIRECTOR: BILL MORRISON / SCREENPLAY: BILL MORRISON / RELEASE DATE: MAY 4TH