Beyond Zero: 1914-1918

Directed by Bill Morrison

40 minutes / Color
No dialog
Release: 2015
Copyright: 2014

Given up as lost for generations, footage from World War I never before seen by modern audiences comes to thrilling new life in BEYOND ZERO: 1914-1918. Auteur director Bill Morrison scoured film archives for rare 35mm nitrate footage shot during the Great War. Now, viewers can see an actual glimpse of a war fought in fields, in trenches, and in the air emerges for the first time.

Through a veil of physical degradation, unstable chemical elements and the bleeding of original film dye, viewers can see soldiers performing training exercises, parades and troop movements. While some of the battle footage was re-enacted for cameras, some is documentary footage of the war itself. All the footage was originally shot on film at the time of the conflict.

A prismatic and cinematic a message in a bottle from a century ago and accompanied by a magnificent score by Aleksandra Vrebalov performed by the Kronos Quartet, BEYOND ZERO: 1914-1918 is a powerful record of wartime past. Out on the same fields with the soldiers 100 years ago, the film is itself both collaborator and survivor.

film still"A gripping experience."The New York Times

"Extraordinary. One of the most strangely powerful shows of this year's international film festival."Edinburgh Evening News

"A strange and sober beauty."The Times

"Unsettling and mesmerising."Edinburgh Spotlight

"Astonishing moving images from the trenches, battlefields and air battles of the War."The Scotsman

"The primitive power and beauty of the images, often disappearing or melting away before our very eyes, remains."Kevin Filipski, The Flip Side

"Alternately moving, chilling, hypnotic and ... always fascinating to view."James van Maanen, TrustMovies

"The haunting imagery ... which can't be seen anywhere outside this film ... married to Alesandra Vrebalov's powerful score make this a documentary like no other."Alonso Duralde,

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A film by Bill Morrison
Music composed by Aleksandra Vrebalov and performed by Kronos Quartet

Select Accolades

  • 2015 Seattle International Film Festival
  • 2015 San Francisco International Film Festival
  • 2015 Vermont International Film Festival
  • 2015 Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival
  • 2014 CPH:DOX Documentary Film Festival


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

Bill Morrison | 2014 | 455 minutes | Color | English

Tilda Swinton's narration and a treasure trove of rare archival footage trace the origins of today's hyper-connected world.

Manu Luksch, Martin Reinhart, and Thomas Tode | 2015 | 85 minutes | Color | English | Closed Captioned

Al Capone's release from prison is eagerly awaited by a crowd in Bill Morrison's split-screen panorama. Music by Vijay Iyer.

Bill Morrison | 2012 | 13 minutes | Color