A meditation on the human quest to transcend physicality, constructed from decaying archival footage and set to an original symphonic score.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Margaret Cullington ...
Maggie Jiggs (archive footage)
...
(archive footage)
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Storyline

Black and white stock footage, much of it scratched or blistered, illustrates a Michael Gordon symphony. A whirling dervish, couples laughing, a soldier trying to take advantage of a flower vendor, a camel caravan moving across the horizon, a single plane and then others, paratroopers in the sky, a mining disaster, a pugilist, nuns and children at a school - some images last a few seconds, others for a minute or more. The scratches, blisters, and bygone look of the footage suggest time's passage. Only the dervish, who begins and ends the film, is intact. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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3 October 2003 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Aposynthesia  »

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Trivia

Selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in December 2013. See more »

Crazy Credits

In memory of Hortense K. Becker, (1902-2001) 'Big Non' See more »

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References Koyaanisqatsi (1982) See more »

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Lack of credits mars already dull montage
26 November 2007 | by (Washington DC) – See all my reviews

Apart from its sheer dullness (it's a 30-minute 1920s-Surrealist-style montage, backed with tedious atonal music and stretched to 60+ by running it at what appears to be 8 frames/sec) this is the most dishonest piece of nonsense I've seen in many years. Some of the footage is visually striking, especially the hauntingly decayed comedy sequences. But Morrison didn't shoot any original footage. Yet he credits himself, and rather prominently too, as the "author" of the film ("editor" would be more accurate). He's even got recognizable footage from some commercial comedies in there. Yes, it's badly damaged. So what? So is the inside of the Sistene Chapel. So are "Nosferatu" and "Intolerance". But no other director's name or title appears anywhere in this film, although the archives that supplied him footage surely know what they are.

It's as if Morrison took "The Strange Love of Martha Ivers" and "It's a Wonderful Life"-- which are also damaged, and also in the Public Domain-- chopped off the Milestone and Capra credits and edited them into one movie, "Bill Morrison's Christmas Story", and then copyrighted and sold it. Since these source materials are in the Public Domain, it wouldn't be illegal to do so. It would just be in incredibly bad taste.


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