Motion picture Assessment: ‘The Excellent Flood’ Explores Tragedy on the Mississippi in ’27

January 8th, 2014

Icarus Films

An image observed in “The Great Flood,” Bill Morrison’s documentary about the Mississippi River flood that devastated the area in 1927.

This most likely is not the sort of compliment the filmmakers want to listen to in the week of its theatrical release, but “The Wonderful Flood,” a lovely exploration of the Mississippi River flood of 1927, virtually requires to be loved making use of substantial-good quality headphones. Its soundtrack is an artwork in its possess appropriate, one really worth savoring as you would a fine recording.

Icarus Movies

An picture from “The Excellent Flood.”

This wordless movie, a documentary that is far more like visual poetry, is the operate of Monthly bill Morrison, created from old newsreels and other film documents, like his before perform “The Miners’ Hymns.” Right here his collaborator is the guitarist and composer Bill Frisell, whose score (performed by Mr. Frisell, Ron Miles, Tony Scherr and Kenny Wollesen) meshes with the photographs so evocatively that it appears as if they have been born with each other.

The flood was devastating, specially to what remained of the Mississippi Delta’s sharecropper economic system, so a lot so that it aided alter the country’s demographics, fueling the northward migration of blacks that experienced previously been underway. With just the occasional bit of textual content on the screen, Mr. Morrison conveys the destruction and the aftermath, though he is sparse enough with the specifics that viewers may want to get ready by studying at least a summary of the catastrophe.

The movie and Mr. Frisell’s audio are elegiac more than all, but there are sparks of humor in the mournful journey: a speedy excursion by means of a Sears catalog of the period of time a seem at government officers checking out flood zones for picture ops, considerably as they might nowadays.

Mr. Morrison’s r?sum? contains an total film about decaying movie stock (“Decasia”), and his fascination with the phenomenon is obvious in “The Fantastic Flood.” A quantity of the movie fragments he employs are starting to deteriorate, and he fortunately leaves the eroded pictures as they are. Mr. Frisell’s tunes looks really to be contacting forth the flaws, like a modern day-working day electronic impact. It is a sublime, considerably eerie touch in a placing experiment in tunes and moviemaking.

The Excellent Flood

Opens on Wednesday in Manhattan.

Directed and edited by Bill Morrison songs by Bill Frisell developed by Phyllis Oyama unveiled by Icarus Films. At the IFC Middle, 323 Avenue of the Americas, at 3rd Avenue, Greenwich Village. Managing time: 1 hour 16 minutes. This movie is not rated.

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