Dawson City: Frozen Time, USA 2016

Tuesday September 4th at 6.15 p.m.

You can now check out this film on the new Picture House Web Pages: replacing those that ‘crashed’ earlier in the year. The film is the work of the fine documentary film-maker Bill Morrison. I saw his earlier The Miners’ Hymns (2011) at the Picture House and it was a fine example of his skills in filming, selection and editing. It also has excellent use of music. This new title has fine musical accompaniment by Alex Somers.

The town and the ‘frozen time’ of the title refer to a cache of ‘lost films’ discovered in a remote township in the Klondike. These are all pre-sound films which were buried in a pool or rink in 1929. About two thirds of the films produced before the arrival of sound in the late 1920s are lost. So such a find is a real excitement for film buffs, Morrison, with his usual skill and command of technique, produces a portrait of the city and the treasure which combines historical detail with aesthetic pleasure. His work, tending to the avant garde, is often elliptical but repays continued attention.

Apart from Film Festivals, including Leeds, this fine film work has not had a British release, so it is great that there is this opportunity to see it here. The film runs for 120 minutes and Morrison uses both black and white and colour footage in the same ratio as the early films, 1.33:1.

 

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