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Decodings1988

  • 3.5
Michael Wallin's most widely-acclaimed film was also his only foray into found-footage assembly. Set to the mournful strains of Dmitri Shostakovich with a ruminative text by San Francisco physician/author Michael Blumlein (as read by William Graves), DECODINGS' collected archival images seem to illustrate the poignant universality of man's eternal search for identity and connection. The sense of time running out no doubt reflected more immediate realities for a gay San Francisco filmmaker at the grim height of the AIDS epidemic. This beautifully elegiac black-and-white film is like a time capsule for the whole 20th century, steeped in a mournful tenderness both personal and philosophical. - Dennis Harvey

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