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Decasia Blu-ray

United States
Icarus Films | 2002 | 67 min | Not rated | Dec 04, 2012

Decasia (Blu-ray)
Large:


Video
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.35:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.37:1

Audio
Music: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Music: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles
None

Discs
25GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Playback
Region free

Price
List price: $34.98, Price history

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Movie rating
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0.0
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Blu-ray rating
Video 4.5 of 54.5
Audio 4.5 of 54.5
Extras 3.5 of 53.5
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Movie appeal 
Documentary100%
5%
popularity
23
collections
1
fans




Decasia

 (2002)

Decasia Blu-ray delivers stunning video and audio in this excellent Blu-ray release

Because it is chemically unstable, cellulose nitrate film stock begins decomposing the moment it is manufactured, a process that accelerates with the passage of time. But the actual picture that this relentless disintegration produces can sometimes be beautiful. A Luna Park rocket car explodes out of disintegrating chaos. A hag points a threatening finger at an appalled judge, and then turns back to us, metamorphosing into sheerest monstrosity. Lovers melt into embraces but are themselves melting and coming undone. (Adapted from Lawrence Wechsler, “Sublime Decay”, New York Times Magazine, Dec. 22, 2002.)

For more about Decasia and the Decasia Blu-ray release, see Decasia Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.

Director: Bill Morrison

» See full cast & crew


Decasia Blu-ray, Video Quality

  4.5 of 5

A video evaluation of Icarus Films's 1080p, AVC-encoded Blu-ray of Decasia defies all the usual criteria applied in Blu-ray reviews. How do you assess the black levels? The sharpness? The detail? The fidelity to the source? The images of Decasia constitute their own world, with no external reference or standard by which to judge them.

One can say this much: There are true blacks on the disc, which suggests that the transfer and mastering were performed with accurately calibrated equipment. The pulsing, swirling, mottling and other distortions have a distinctly analog character, which is to say that they always appear to be elements of the source and not a digital by-product of the Blu-ray's creation. Indeed, classic digital artifacts, such as macroblocking or banding, would probably stand out more sharply here than in conventional material, because they would contrast so strikingly with the almost tactile nature of the decomposing frames that Morrison has assembled.

That tactile sensation is essential to the experience of Decasia and explains why Icarus chose this film for their second venture on Blu-ray. The full 1080p resolution is essential to capturing the fleeting experience that Morrison was trying to convey. DVD's limited resolution might be sufficient to convey the idea, but not the whole experience. Ironically, it has taken a digital medium, with its promise of long-term durability, to obtain for Morrison the possibility of a wide audience. That was something he could never get from the medium in which he works and on which Decasia is a reflection.


Decasia Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  4.5 of 5

Don't be concerned when Decasia begins. The soundtrack is dead quiet at the start, and the sound only gradually rises to audible levels. Two lossless audio tracks are available, one stereo and one 5.1. Both are encoded as DTS-HD Master Audio. As is often the case, the stereo track is louder; so adjust your volume accordingly. (I am not in a position to compare, but I suspect the stereo track derives from Michael Gordon's separately released CD of Decasia.)

The 5.1 track has excellent power and presence, and it makes full use of the surrounds to envelop the listener. However, one's enjoyment of the track will depend entirely on one's musical taste. Gordon belongs to the movement sometimes known as "post-minimalist", whose work can strike many listeners (including me) as an assault on the ear, at least when approached in isolation. Here, as an accompaniment to Morrison's images, it seems appropriate. Decasia's soundtrack features detuned pianos, an orchestra playing out of phase with itself (presumably through electronic manipulation) and various other techniques to create what Gordon calls a mix of "the sweet and sour". Gordon has said, "I like things a little dirty, I like to take something really beautiful and to mess it up a bit." His sound is as essential to the experience of Decasia as was the sound mix of 2001 to Kubrick's vision of space.


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