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Decasia (2002)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 540 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 7.2/10

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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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Documentary

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Not Rated | See all certifications »
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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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References Koyaanisqatsi (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

The Accidental Postmodernist?
29 March 2004 | by (Highland, CA) – See all my reviews

Much like the well-known Literary Criticism lemma of the "intentional fallacy" (not fallacy with intent, that is - but, rather, the fallacy of assuming intent upon an author), the effect "Decasia" has upon the viewer will inevitably be a co-creation. Themes of Walter Said's "Orientalism" abounded in my head as the juxtaposition of Middle-Eastern and Asian imagery was infused with the designs of film decay: was this a brilliant visual citation of deconstructionist theory? Surely, the similarity to fractals which the living "blotches" of film decomposition bore was not lost upon the orchestrators, was it? Well, to learn that the etymology of the title was derived from a play on Disney's "Fantasia" did little to support the postmodern "reading" I initially lent the film.

Nonetheless, the pairing of these *entirely* unmanipulated images (save for their being slowed down) found and woven together by Bill Morrison along with Gordon's homage to Phillip Glass' "qatsi" trilogy elicited a rather visceral response from my mesmerized occipital lobe.

This film continues in the trend of what I like to call "aesthetic narrative" (the genesis of which I credit to Godfrey Reggio and Phillip Glass' "Koyaanisqatsi"): a filmic genre in which the "deep structure" of film is laid bare for the experience of the audience - there is no script, no plot, and no spoken word throughout the presentation; however, the proof of film as an art form unto itself is given by dint of the multiplicity of analyses projected and digested by the viewer.

Thus, while enjoying a mixed reception, the film stands as centrally important to this postmodern genre of "aesthetic narrative" (the term for which, by the way, I may likely have coined; feel free to adopt its usage whenever applicable). Certainly it bears watching.


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