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523 Ratings

Dawson City: Frozen Time

Directed by Bill Morrison
United States, 2016


Using archival footage to tell the story, Dawson City: Frozen Time pieces together the bizarre true history of a collection of some 500 films dating from 1910s-1920s, which were lost for over 50 years until being discovered buried in a sub-arctic swimming pool deep in the Yukon Territory in 1978.

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Dawson City: Frozen Time Directed by Bill Morrison
It’s about growth, loss, recovery, and destruction in several areas, all circling around Dawson City as their hub . . . Morrison, however, weaves information about a variety of other subjects together in a way that makes the passage of time palpable for us. We see its effects on people and places and discover the odd, fortuitous connections among them in a dizzying fashion. A complex film like this deserves an extended commentary, which I offer below.
November 07, 2017
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It’s nominally a documentary—it is a documentary—but describing it as a documentary is something like describing Ulysses as a travel guide to Dublin. The film is transfixing, an utterly singular compound of the bizarre, the richly informative, the thrilling, the horrifying, the goofy, the tragic, and the flat-out gorgeous.
August 07, 2018
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With its haunting score composed by Alex Somers, Dawson City: Frozen Time works like a fever dream – an assemblage of collective memories, of faces and places we didn’t know we shared. In the end, this is the timeless gift that cinema grants to all its faces – each frozen in time, each always within the scope of our gaze, from either inside the world that flickers on the screen at a film festival like MIFF, or far beyond.
September 20, 2017
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