The Great Flood

Bill Morrison
USA 2012
80 min

Bill Morrison’s movie-collage THE GREAT FLOOD, a solemn procession of battered, monochrome movie images from the Mississippi river disaster of 1927, would be a memorable drama even played in total silence. In close-up, it shows trickling streams and rain on cotton plants swelling into torrents; cigar-toting politicians gesticulate reassuringly, and the wealthy making dignified retreats while the impoverished cling to the remains of shacks. Guitarist Bill Frisell’s soundtrack of howling blues chords, Thelonious Monk hooks, country-swing and “Ol’ Man River” quotes would make a fine concert without a film, too. Put the two together, and the result moves up another creative and emotional level. Morrison hasn’t cleaned up the old movie stock, and the film’s sudden flashes of bleached-out glare or throbbing shadows merge with the distorted chimes and lonely brass sounds of Frisell’s group to establish a sense of chaos and collapse. But the score’s bursts of dance music, and fine trumpeter Ron Miles’s blues phrasing, convey the hope that brought about America’s unique achievements, too. (John Fordham)

  • Bill Morrison
  • Bill Frisell
  • Ron Miles
  • Tony Scherr
  • Kenny Wollesen
  • Claudia Englehart
  • Lee Townsend
  • Ken Lee
  • Bill Frisell (Gitarre)
  • Ron Miles (Trompete)
  • Tony Scherr (Bass
  • Gitarre) Kenny Wollesen (Drums
  • Percussion)
Hypnotic Pictures, Songline/Tone Field Productions

Hypnotic Pictures

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