Reassembly: The Films of Bill Morrison

Reassembly: The Films of Bill Morrison

Known for his hand-in-glove creative collaborations with contemporary composers and his capacity to conduct scraps of archival film as though they were players in a symphony orchestra, Morrison is one of the most lauded experimental filmmakers to emerge in the last 30+ years. Enjoy this choice selection of Morrison’s work, including his lyric retelling of the tale of a nitrate film treasure trove’s discovery, "Dawson City: Frozen Time," in this tribute to a profound thinker on film, history, and filmed history.

Reassembly: The Films of Bill Morrison
  • Bill Morrison on "Dawson City: Frozen Time"

    Directed by Metrograph | 9 mins | 2024
    Filmmaker Bill Morrison discusses his film "Dawson City: Frozen Time," screening as part of "Reassembly: The Films of Bill Morrison"

  • Dawson City: Frozen Time

    Directed by Bill Morrison | 120 mins | 2016
    In 1978, in Canada’s sparsely populated Yukon Territory, 533 nitrate film reels dating from the silent era were unearthed. From such a treasure trove, Morrison produced this freewheeling retelling of the history of a one-time boom town, making use of th...

  • The Film of Her

    Directed by Bill Morrison | 12 mins | 1996
    “Morrison’s masterpiece may be… The Film of Her, a love lyric to cinema spun out of the true tale of a Library of Congress clerk, one Howard Walls, who in 1939 single-handedly prevented truckloads of the very earliest films from being burnt for space.”—S...

  • Who By Water

    Directed by Bill Morrison | 17 mins | 2007
    A rumination on the concept of preordination made with silent archival footage of anonymous ship passengers.

  • Light Is Calling

    Directed by Bill Morrison | 8 mins | 2004
    Bang on a Can’s Michael Gordon lends his talents as composer to Morrison’s short "Light is Calling", which makes use of wistful, decayed footage from James Young’s 1926 film "The Bells".

  • The Mesmerist

    Directed by Bill Morrison | 16 mins | 2003
    A decay-pitted nitrate print of James Young’s 1926 Lionel Barrymore and Boris Karloff vehicle "The Bells" takes on an almost psychedelic, hallucinatory quality via Morrison’s re-edit, which sets a scene at the carnival midway to an ominous, rumbling scor...

  • The Letter

    Directed by Bill Morrison | 12 mins | 2018
    A story of overlapping love triangles told through the accounts of two women, made with the deteriorating remnants of silent film intertitles.

  • Her Violet Kiss

    Directed by Bill Morrison | 5 mins | 2021
    Produced during—and obliquely referent to—the pandemic years, Morrison’s film re-cuts and re-contextualizes a scene from a partially lost German silent, 1928’s "Liebeshölle" aka "Pawns of Passion", matched with an atmospheric score by Peruvian American co...

  • Buried News

    Directed by Bill Morrison | 12 mins | 2021
    In "Buried News", Morrison employs newsreel films from the early years of the previous century to ruminate on the media’s role in manipulating narratives around race in America then and today.