Light is Calling

Directed by Bill Morrison

8 minutes / Color
Release: 2004
Copyright: 2004

Decasia and Light Is Calling are included on one Blu-Ray discIn Light Is Calling, a deteriorating scene from James Young's The Bells (1926) was optically reprinted and edited to Michael Gordon's seven-minute composition. The aesthetic of Morrison's film is inexorably intertwined with many of Michael Gordon's pieces. We watch a decomposing film reel of a soldier who meets a mysterious woman in the woods. A meditation on the random and fleeting nature of life and love, as seen through the roiling emulsion of an ancient film. Morrison's short was made through the process of reshooting decomposing black and white film, and the result is a dreamy, melting, light-drenched scene. —The Viennale

"Light is Calling [is one of Morrison's] more accessible works, an incomparably beautiful and sad film experiment. …A militiaman riding; a woman waiting; a meeting; a departure. Simple though it is, this story is enough to give Morrison's work a backbone. As images emerge through the painterly swirls of emulsion, the viewer is invited-nay, required-to reflect on the ephemeral quality of the film and, by extension, its characters. For those with limited patience for non-narrative "artsy" films, Light is Calling is just the right length. Only in the final thirty seconds or so does Gordon's haunting avant-garde score cross the line into dissonance, breaking the delicate connection it held with Morrison's images. Still, this breathtaking film manages to capture your emotions as well as your eyes." —Christopher Zinsli, Film Threat

"Ecstatic! In which bodies and movements dissolve in swirling waves of golden light, the film's decay radiating as a glorious self-immolation."—Maximilian Le Cain, Senses of Cinema

"Heart-stoppingly beautiful."—Zoetica Ebb, Coilhouse Magazine

Other Ways to Watch


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Purchase DVD for $298.00

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A Film by Bill Morrison
Music by Michael Gordon

Select Accolades

  • Best Film, Berlin International Short Film Festival 2004
  • World Premiere, Sundance Film Festival 2004
  • Juror's Choice Award, Black Maria Film and Video Festival 2004
  • International Premiere, Rotterdam Film Festival 2004
  • San Francisco International Film Festival 2004
  • Tribeca Film Festival 2004
  • Festival del Cinema Ritrovato 2004
  • Vienna International Film Festival 2004


This five-disc set comprises 16 works by filmmaker and multimedia artist Bill Morrison.

Bill Morrison | 2014 | 455 minutes | Color | English

A legendary cinematic exploration of the beauty of decaying archival footage by experimental film artist Bill Morrison. Music by Michael Gordon.

Bill Morrison | 2012 | 67 minutes | Color | English

Special edition Blu-ray including both DECASIA, a legendary cinematic exploration of the beauty of decaying archival footage by experimental film artist Bill Morrison, and LIGHT IS CALLING.

Bill Morrison | 2012 | 67 minutes | Color | English