Image from the motion picture Decoder Image from the motion picture Decoder


Sci-Fi, Horror, Music, Mystery | 1984 | 87MIN




FM Einheit
William Rice
Christiane Felscherinow
William S. Burroughs

Decoder is a 1984 underground film with cult status, inspired by The Electronic Revolution (1970) by William S. Burroughs. Featuring an exceptional cast of non-professional actors who for the most part play themselves (FM Einheit of Einstürzende Neubauten, Genesis P-Orridge of Psychic TV, Lower East Side bohemian Bill Rice, Beat Generation icon William S. Burroughs, and Bahnhof Zoo’s real Christiane F.) and extraordinary music of the time from bands such as Soft Cell, Einstürzende Neubauten, and The The, the film dramatizes the transcending innovation that punk brought to the field of communications.

A young punk and sound enthusiast realizes the subliminal power of Muzak, an artificial music created by scientists and marketing experts to increase efficiency and enhance well-being. He decodes this music and creates an antidote to provoke disturbances not only in the burger joints where he found this music. When he recruits street pirates to spread his twisted sounds via tapes, the turmoil turns into violent street fights (edited with original footage from Berlin’s infamous anti-Reagan riots). The big corporations can not tolerate this and engage a shady agent to stop the anti-Muzak movement.
Muzak has a political significance that time has only enhanced. In early cyberpunk manner, the makers of Decoder created a prophetic film between reality and fiction, in which surreal, metaphorical imagery blends with music, text, and sound effects. Simultaneously a musical action movie with a very physical impact, Decoder offers an exciting insight into the subcultural ideas and aesthetics of the early 1980s in Berlin and beyond.

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