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Decasia (2002)

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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 512 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 22 user | 40 critic | 6 from

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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Credited cast:
(archive footage)


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 <>

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Release Date:

3 October 2003 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Decasia  »

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Did You Know?


Nearly all the clips incorporated into this film are from footage that has been damaged due to poor storage, neglect, or ravaged by time and the elements. Nothing was done to accelerate the decomposition process. See more »


Features Truthful Tulliver (1917) See more »

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User Reviews

Foolproof imagery
10 January 2007 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

By 'The Accidental Postmodernist' I assume Mr. Hite is referring to himself :P This is a dreamscape of corroded images pulled from decomposing b & w nitrate film stock, set to a Bang On a Can soundtrack that's half Eno and half Steve Reich (both of whom BOAC have covered). At certain moments the two elements collude in blissful, Norman McLaren like serendipity. I'm not on top of the meanings - the main editing trick I noticed was a series of pictures of wheels; the whirling dervish inserted beginning-middle-end is a pretty lazy structure; and I'm not always sure if the Orientalism is being recontextualized or amplified. This could be a hack getting lucky for all I know. But he is very lucky. I am a sucker for the textures that age has unleashed on this 67 minutes of images. The most legendary shot - which turns out to have been the justification for the whole film - is an extended image of a boxer throwing blows from screen left at a giant pulsating blob of mildew midscreen. It's like Cronenberg if the body that was disintegrating were the film itself.

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