Directed by Bill Morrison • Documentary • 2010 • 13 minutes
On March 17, 1930, a crowd assembled outside Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary in hopes of witnessing Al Capone's release from prison. (He in fact had already been released the night before.)
Filmmaker Bill Morrison and composer Vijay Iyer turn a single archival panning shot of that scene—originally filmed in 1930 by Jack Painter—and its accompanying audio track—recorded in 1930 by Addison Tice--into a split-screen surround sound panoramic film that continually doubles back on itself, creating a short cinematic meditation on the nature of spectacle and spectatorship.
RELEASE made its world premiere in a 20-month installation at Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, where it was presented in the cell next to the one once occupied by Al Capone.