Directed by Bill Morrison
2021, 1h 21min, 35mm
“A biographical documentary that only Morrison could deliver. With a fantastic score by David Lang, the director mesmerizingly weaves through an entire life of unbridled creativity while also, once again, instilling the importance of film preservation.” Jordan Raup, The Film Stage
During the summer of 2016, a fishing boat off the shores of Iceland made a most curious catch: four reels of 35mm film, seemingly of Soviet provenance. Unlike the film find explored in Bill Morrison’s Dawson City: Frozen Time, it turned out this discovery wasn’t a lost work of major importance, but an incomplete print of a popular Soviet comedy from 1969, starring the beloved Russian actor Mihail Žarov. Does that mean it has no value? Morrison thought not. To him, the heavily water-damaged print, and the way it surfaced, could be seen as a fitting reflection on the film work of Žarov, who re-emerges from the bottom of the sea 50 years later like a Russian Rip Van Winkle, to a world where reels of film are as antiquated as the Soviet Union. But if celluloid film is the only medium that can survive the ocean, how will future generations remember us? Morrison uses the discovery as a jumping off point for his latest meditation on cinema’s past, offering a journey into Soviet history and film accompanied by a gorgeous score by Pulitzer and Grammy-winning composer David Lang.
Joan Neuberger (faculty, History, UT Austin) will introduce the film and moderate a Q&A with Bill Morrison over Zoom following the screening.
UT Austin students can receive a $3 discount on tickets with the code nitrate3.
Screens with Her Violet Kiss (5 minutes, 2021). A clandestine affair plays out among scenes of revelry in Bill Morrison’s latest short film, a collaboration with musician Michael Montes.
This program is presented in partnership with Austin Film Society, in conjunction with Bill Morrison: Cycles & Loops, on view January 28 – March 12, 2022.