Flatpack Festival
Film, and then some

Home movies as art?

Ian Francis
Tuesday 22nd April, 2008 Posted by Ian Francis

Fred McLeodMenzies ChristmasRosenblatt WeddingOhori Railroad By way of a warm-up act for I For India on Sunday we'll be showing a small selection from the Living Room Cinema dvd, recently put out by the Center for Home Movies. This is a group of enthusiastic archivists who promote the worldwide Home Movie Day where anyone can show up and share their old cine footage (next one on 18th October 2008). As well as raising awareness of film preservation they have harvested some of the best for this compilation, which kicks off with a rare colour clip of Thomas Edison and includes wobblycam gems from Chicago and New York to Havana and Nagoya. Watching two hours of other people's home-movies may not be your idea of a dream night in, but it's strange how moving the mundane can become with time.

"Home movies turn minuses into pluses. Since so many are irretrievably lost, we cherish those that remain and yearn for those that we have not yet found. Of this desire histories are made. And since often we can only infer their context from fleeting visual clues, home movies pique our imagination. Imagining their backstories turns a void into art."

  • archivist Rick Prelinger, from the Living Room Cinema sleeve notes (some lovely home movies can also be downloaded from Prelinger's collection at archive.org). One of our favourites on the dvd is the Rosenblatt wedding, wonderful shots from 1945 of a group of young deaf people letting rip on the dancefloor with insightful commentary by the newly-wed couple's son 60 years later.
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