Kino Lorber will release The Village Detective: a song cycle, where a Soviet film from 1969 found in a fisherman’s net serves as inspiration for Bill Morrison’s (Dawson City: Frozen Time, Decasia) latest exploration of forgotten histories that endure on celluloid.
The documentary film will open in theaters (IFC Center in NYC) beginning Wednesday, September 22.
During the summer of 2016, a fishing boat off the shores of Iceland made a most curious catch: four reels of 35mm film, seemingly of Soviet provenance. Unlike the film find explored in Bill Morrison’s Dawson City: Frozen Time, it turned out this discovery wasn’t a lost work of major importance, but an incomplete print of a popular comedy starring beloved Russian actor Mihail Žarov. Does that mean it has no value? Morrison thought not. To him, the heavily water-damaged print, and the way it surfaced, could be seen as a fitting reflection on the life of Žarov, who loved this role so much that he even co-directed a sequel to it. Morrison uses the story as a jumping off point for his latest meditation on cinema’s past, offering a journey into Soviet history and film accompanied by a gorgeous score by Pulitzer and Grammy-winning composer David Lang.
Bill Morrison makes films that reframe long-forgotten moving images. His films have premiered at the New York, Rotterdam, Sundance, and Venice film festivals. In 2014 Morrison had a midcareer retrospective at MoMA. His found footage opus Decasia (2002) was the first film of the 21st century to be selected to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. The Great Flood (2013), was recognized with the Smithsonian Ingenuity Award of 2014 for historical scholarship. Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016) was included on over 100 critics’ lists of the best films of the year, and on numerous lists ranking the best films of the decade, including those of the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, and Vanity Fair.
Watch the trailer for The Village Detective: a song cycle.