The first film of the 21st century to win a place in the Library of Congress – having been deemed by the National Film Registry to be a flagship example of American film heritage – is also a spectral archive boasting a singular aesthetic. An archaeologist of cinema offers up a symphonic work here, a rhythmic composition made up of film strips in early or advanced states of degradation, where signs of decay on the celluloid become elements of a narrative that encompasses the entire history of the cinematic experience and substitutes the precision of film historiography with the ecstasy of the ephemeral. It is a cyclical work – like the dance of the dervishes in the shots that open and close the film, like a reel spinning steadily inside a movie projector, like the human experience of time itself. And as the first bona fide contemporary masterwork of the new millennium, built upon the resplendent forgotten ruins of the past, it convinced even Kenneth Anger to call it the most compelling and disturbing thing he had ever seen, and forced the documentary filmmaker Errol Morris to concede it was the greatest film in history.
Screening Schedule

No physical screenings scheduled.

Direction: Bill Morrison
Editing: Bill Morrison
Music: Michael Gordon
Production: Hypnotic Pictures
Producers: Bill Morrison
Format: DCP
Color: B/W
Production Country: USA
Production Year: 2002
Duration: 67'
Contact: Bill Morrison
Awards/Distinctions: Golden Gate Award-Certificate of Merit – San Francisco IFF 2002

Bill Morrison

Bill Morrison has been called “the poet laureate of lost films” (New York Times, 9/21/2021), as he often makes films that reframe long-forgotten moving images. He has premiered feature-length documentary films at the New York, Sundance, Telluride, and Venice film festivals. Morrison has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Alpert Award, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, as well as production grants from Creative Capital, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Arté – La Lucarne. He had a mid-career retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art in 2014. His found footage opus Decasia (2002) was the first film of the 21st century to be named to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry. The Great Flood (2013) received the Smithsonian Ingenuity Award for historical scholarship. Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016) was included on over 100 critics’ lists of the best films of the year and was later listed as one of the best films of the decade by the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, and Vanity Fair, among others. In 2021, Morrison became a member of the documentary branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. His most recent feature-length doc, The Village Detective: A Song Cycle (2021) had its North American premiere at the 2021 Telluride Film Festival and was released by Kino Lorber theatrically and on home video in North America. Incident (2023) premiered at the 2023 Visions du Réel Film Festival, and won the best short film award at the inaugural edition of the UnArchive Film Festival held in Rome.


1992 Footprints (short)
2000 Ghost Trip (short)
2002 Decasia
2004 Gotham (short)
2008 Dystopia (short)
2010 Spark of Being 
2013 The Great Flood
2016 Dawson City: Frozen in Time
2018 The Unchanging Sea (short)
2021 The Village Detective: a Song Cycle
2023 The Incident (short)