An excerpt from the booklet essay by Gareth Evans.

In all art-forms there is, coded deeply within the fabric of the artefacts produced, an origin myth, a kind of Ur-form, that grounds both the tools and the works of that medium. We might think of writing’s first scratches on animal hide (or even the first bite marks into birch bark), the faunal calls that inspired song, or the cave fire shadow-totems that gave us visual art.

Cinema itself can lay a reasonable claim to an ancestry in all previous formulations of the creative imagination, being a synthesis of the multiple possibilities of sensory, intellectual and emotional expression. In addition, its own immediate precedents - the increasingly mobile outcomes of photography – bring the relevant and required technology into the equation.

However, in one profound way, cinema’s foundation lies outside and beyond the aesthetic, material or technological. In conception, delivery and reception, it feels far closer to the gesamtkunstwerk of dream, a mode of being that translates the personal, historical and social into delirium and ecstasy, raising a house of horrors and delights on the bedrock of what has or has not happened (Geoffrey O’Brien’s telling text The Phantom Empire should be consulted here).

It is this trajectory that Bill Morrison has charted in all his work to date. Engaging often with the earliest celluloid he can, and marrying a poet’s sense of lyric precision to an acute awareness of the rhythmic potential a score can bring, he has revisioned the over-looked, ignored or actively forgotten for an image-saturated culture and in so doing has made the medium both ancient and modern again at once.

Now, in Dawson City: Frozen Time, Morrison has filed a remarkable dispatch on the archaeological manifestations of such an oeuvre. While Kristin Thompson, in the fascinating and authoritative essay included here, expresses concern with the usefulness of such an analogy in scholarly or practical terms, it can perhaps be allowed a little room for manoeuvre in these strikingly less informative notes. For a maker passionate about – and reliant upon – found footage, the Dawson City Film Find is a temporal and topographic trove of ‘reality’ one could only dream about before its discovery. It is the embodiment of the idea that compels: the reels (with all their attendant faces, bodies, gestures, actions and worlds) as preserved in their ice as anonymous ages-old Alpine pedestrians have been.


Gareth Evans' complete essay, from which this excerpt is taken, appears in the booklet which accompanies the release.

Disc Info

USA, 2016
Length / Feature
(Blu-ray/24fps): 121 minutes
(DVD/25fps): 116 minutes
Length / Special features:
(Blu-ray): 119 minutes
(DVD): 45 minutes
Blu-ray: DTS-HD 5.1 Surround / 2.0 Stereo LPCM (48k/24-bit)
DVD: 5.1 Surround / 2.0 Stereo
Black and white, colour
Original aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Language: English
Subtitles: English SDH

Blu-ray: BD50 / 1080 / 24fps / Region ABC
DVD: PAL / DVD9 / Region 0

Blu-Ray: £19.99
DVD: £12.99
Release Date: 18 Feb 2019


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