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Decasia (2002)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 558 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 21 user | 42 critic | 6 from Metacritic.com

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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Title: Decasia (2002)

Decasia (2002) on IMDb 7.3/10

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

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

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Features Truthful Tulliver (1917) See more »

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7 July 2003 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

This film was put together in order to be a visual accompaniment to a somewhat atonal, machine-like symphony. On that level, this film doesn't work for me. The pulse that is needed to synchronize with the pacing of the film is never there; it's just meandering along annoyingly on the soundtrack, which gives one the sensation of trying to go into a trance to random sounds of traffic. The experience of trance is certainly one that is the objective of any viewer watching this film. The film is even bookended by visions of a Sufi dancer in order to set that theme. `In this film' his ghostlike image tells us, `we are going to voyage through varying kinds of oddness in a dizzying slow motion that is pulsated by the rhythm of the effects (the effects are made up of scratches, blotches, warping, and other manipulations done to the film)'. The images are astounding, mostly consisting of stock footage of turn-of-the-century images. One has to guess how much of the footage was already partially damaged by age, and how much of it was manipulated by the filmmaker. Doesn't matter. Whether the images are haunting, humourous, beautiful or obscure, the voyage is a fascinating one. BUT... only with the right music to accompany it. I would suggest that those who view this film try out different music to see what works for them. That may be ‘sacrilegious', and certainly, I would never replace a score of most films I watch (I did that once accidentally when I happened to turn on `The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T' while listening to some acid jazz. What a trip that was!). Call it post-modern revisionism, or just call it audience participation. Whatever works for you: techno, ambient, classical, jazz, or acid jazz... I personally had some terrific experiences with Massive Attack and Primal Scream, but I'm anxious to try out lots of different kinds of music in future viewings. Art isn't a product or an object; it's a vehicle that transports its observer to another state of mind. I'd say this film is a nifty little spaceship/time machine. Don't ask what it means, just set the appropriate music for your course and have a nice trip!


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