Dawson City: Frozen Time

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Dawson City: Frozen Time


Sunday Sep 24 07:30 PM
Tuesday Oct 03 07:30 PM


Doris Duke Theatre


Museum members: $10.00
General Admission: $12.00


About the Film:

Directed by Bill Morrison. USA. 2017. Documentary. 120 mins.

This New York Times Critics’ Pick is a meditation on cinema’s past from Decasia director Bill Morrison, that pieces together the bizarre, true history of a long-lost collection of 533 nitrate film prints from the early 1900s. Located just south of the Arctic Circle, Dawson City was settled in 1896 and became the center of the Canadian Gold Rush that brought 100,000 prospectors to the area. It was also the final stop for a distribution chain that sent prints and newsreels to the Yukon. The films were seldom, if ever, returned. The now-famous Dawson City Collection was uncovered in 1978 when a bulldozer working its way through a parking lot dug up a hoard of film cans. Morrison draws on these permafrost-protected, rare silent films and newsreels, pairing them with archival footage, interviews, historical photographs, and an enigmatic score by Sigur Rós collaborator and composer Alex Somers. It’s a fascinating chronicle of the life cycle of a singular film collection through its exile, burial, rediscovery, and salvation.

“It is a story that is told, using these same films from the collection. It is both a cinema of mythology, and mythologizing of cinema,” explains Morrison. “Gold and silver, forever linked and following one another, drove the narrative in a unique chapter of human civilization.”

Bill Morrison (born Chicago, Nov. 17, 1965) is a New York-based filmmaker and artist. His films often combine rare archival material set to contemporary music, and have been screened in theaters, cinemas, museums, galleries, and concert halls around the world. He attended Reed College, and graduated from Cooper Union School of Art in 1989. Trained as a painter, his work reflects a deep and abiding attention to the celluloid image.

Read the New York Times review.

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