The Great Flood (2012) “The Great Flood” is the story, told without dialogue, of the Mississippi River Flood of 1927, the most destructive in U.S. history and the cause of a million people’s displacement. Bill Morrison, the acclaimed director of “Decasia” (the newest inductee to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry) and Bill Frisell, Grammy-winning composer and guitarist, have teamed up to create a powerful new cinematic experience. In the spring of 1927, the river broke out of its earthen embankments in 145 places and inundated 27,000 square miles. Part of its legacy was the forced exodus of displaced sharecroppers, who left plantation life and migrated to Northern cities, adapting to an industrial society with its own set of challenges. Musically, the Great Migration fueled the evolution of acoustic blues to electric blues bands that thrived in cities like Memphis, Detroit and Chicago, becoming the wellspring for R&B and rock as well as developing jazz styles. For the film, Morrison scoured film archives, including the Fox Movietone Newsfilm Library and the National archives, for footage of the Mississippi River Flood. All film documenting this catastrophe was shot on volatile nitrate stock, and what footage remains is pock marked and partially deteriorated. The degraded filmstock figures prominently in Morrison’s aesthetic with distorted images suggesting different planes of reality in the story — those lived, dreamt, or remembered. For the score, Frisell has drawn upon his wide musical palette informed by elements of American roots music, but refracted through his uniquely evocative approach that highlights essential qualities of his thematic focus. Playing guitar, Frisell is joined by Tony Scherr on bass, Kenny Wollesen on drums and Ron Miles on trumpet. Formats: DVD, VOD. Extras: Eight-page booklet. (Icarus Films).
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