A collaboration between filmmaker and multimedia artist Bill Morrison and guitarist and composer Bill Frisell inspired by the 1927 catastrophe of the Mississippi River Flood, the most destructive river flood in American history.
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An enticing assemblage of historical film. But, while Morrison's scores have always been keen, not the case here. Frisell is no doubt talented, but this is cliched, actually irritating "jazz." Post fusion here, bluesy there. People evacuating, sentimental. Rushing flood, happy snappy jazz hands. A severe case of music painting the picture, so overbearing it almost seems ironic. Bill, consider Tim Hecker next time. <3
Bill Morrison is exceedingly adept at taking found archival footage and editing it into compelling new films, and here he weaves a striking portrait of the Mississippi River Flood of 1927. The film is designed as a sensory experience rather than an educational one. And while the jazzy score often feels anachronistic, the ultimate effect of great art arising from great tragedy is a powerful one.
Beyond the physical destruction and immediate aftermath of the flood, I love how this film links the disaster with the Great Migration. We realize the impact it had on driving the blues from the Delta to the North, and it makes the incredible score even more perfect.
Covering a lost part of American history with a fresh and unique voice, the film shows great potential. It does not fall back on traditional storytelling methods that would have given the film melodrama or sentimentality. Instead it feels fresh with the narrative style it adopts. The real star of the film is the music though. The music is wonderful and helps transport you into the film, but blocks out the narrative.
It reads like an archival tone poem. The music of Frizell is hypnotic and often synchronous with the events of the film. Though the music is modern and not of the time, it creates a felt bridge to a different era. If a picture speaks a thousand words, than a moving film spoken only through music speaks a million or more.
Man, that was enjoyable. The images and editing were hypnotic. Enhanced by the Chet Baker vibe to the music. Great way to recount history. Could have done with less (or no) fake nitrate effects though...
I like what Bill Morrison does here more than I like how he does it... Distilling what’s compelling about images of a thing; then combining those units to try to express the essence of that thing; like words in a poem... I just don’t care for his poetry. Often I wished the music would just. please. stop. Still I’m drawn, found/archival footage fetishist to his flame. That stuff is it's own poetry. 2.5
Après avoir visionné une quantité démesurée de bandes d'actualités de l'époque, le cinéaste Bill Morrison nous a concocté un montage efficace et pertinent de ce dramatique événement, rehaussé par une magistrale composition sonore de Bill Frisell. www.cinefiches.com