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The Village Detective: a song cycle

Directed by Bill Morrison

Release: 2021
Runtime: 81
Country: U.S.
Language: English and Russian with English subtitles
Director: Bill Morrison
Composer: David Lang
Writer: Bill Morrison

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 Soviet comedy from 1969, starring the 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 film work of Žarov, who re-emerges from the bottom of the sea 50 years later like a Russian Rip Van Winkle, to a world where reels of film are as antiquated as the Soviet Union. But if celluloid film is the only medium that can survive the ocean, how will future generations remember us? Morrison uses the discovery 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.

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Technical Info

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Color: Color


Venue City Date
American Cinematheque Los Angeles 1636866000November 14 - November 15, 2021
Cleveland Cinematheque Cleveland 1637211600November 18 - November 21, 2021
Clinton Street Theater Portland 1638075600November 28 - November 29, 2021
Crandell Theatre Chatham 1635652800October 31 - November 1, 2021
George Eastman Museum Rochester 1636779600November 13 - November 14, 2021
IFC Center New York 1632283200September 22 - October 20, 2021
Lumiere Cinema Los Angeles 1637298000November 19 - December 17, 2021
MoMA New York 1639717200December 17 - December 18, 2021
Sag Harbor Cinema Sag Harbor 1637298000November 19 - November 23, 2021
The Ryder Film Series Bloomington 1638507600December 3 - December 12, 2021
Wexner Center for the Arts Columbus 1637298000November 19 - December 3, 2021
Zeitgeist Theatre Arabi 1637038800November 16 - November 19, 2021