Re: home movies and experimental film

From: shelly silver (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Jul 23 2006 - 20:55:57 PDT

true, a filmmaker making a film about his/her home may not really be
a 'home movie' in the way most people use the term.

did anyone mention peter forgacs who worked extensively with
hungarian home movies? the films themselves are not home movies, but
they're made up of...


>It's not necessarily something I want to debate endlessly, but I do
>think it would be worthwhile to consider a tighter critical
>description of "home movies." I know that the basic call here was
>for examples that might show some degree of genre-expanding cross
>fertilization (or somesuch....) but I don't think that LOST BOOK
>FOUND, NORTH ON EVERS or SHERMAN'S MARCH or many of the other titles
>mentioned recently have anything to do with home movies, and I think
>it's a disservice to both sides. I watch a lot of home movies, and
>grew up with my own (first onscreen and later behind the camera) and
>think that the genre is commonly defined too loosely, too casually.
> Amateur film is a very large field, and a lot of artists worked in
>that field. There is a great range of amateur film, it is
>practically boundless. Home movies are a specific subset of amateur
>film; some artists worked in this field. The limits are more clearly
>Going back to a Golden Age of Home Movies (baby boomers such as
>myself were the subjects) consider this - the people on screen and
>the people in the audience were the same. We watched ourselves, our
>families, our neighborhood parades. And although the shooting
>locations might have been in and around the same house as the
>screening location (the den? the living room? where was the cinema
>in your house?) some shooting locations were quite far away, as in
>the case of travelogues and vacation pictures. Once I was very
>eager to watch the home movies of a guy who had lived his entire
>life in the county to which I had just moved. He was an interesting
>person, I wanted to know more about the area (Wilkes County, North
>Carolina) so I watched his 30 and 40 year old home movies with him.
>They were all shot in Hawaii, Japan, Grand Canyon, places like that.
>(I didn't learn much about Wilkes County from what was on the
>screen, but I learned a lot about him.) In any case, I think that
>the key element in defining home movies might be this - they were
>made to be shown at home.
>Jem Cohen was working for a much wider audience when he made LOST
>BOOK FOUND - he didn't make it for the people who appear on screen.
>Even though Ross McElwee's work has focused on himself and members
>of his family, everyone thought he was simply wasting his time until
>he started winning all those awards in places like Berlin and New
>York. There are many layers of structure in NORTH ON EVERS, not to
>mention the technical bravura of a hand-written text crawling across
>the bottom. When I think of this work (and I love them dearly, one
>and all) I just can't think of much that would connect them to home
>movies. LOST BOOK FOUND is a late city symphony, McElwee is some
>kind of autobiographical genius, NORTH ON EVERS is a multifaceted
>documentary that covers a tremendous range of issues and territory.
>Eveyone one knows it already, but it's worth repeating - home movies
>were different from home video. Nobody ever let the camera run that
>long, you never could shoot much in low light, and generally home
>movies were silent. Some people still shoot home movies, in 8mm, S8,
>16mm; however, most people shoot home video. Anytime, anywhere, any
>light, just start recording and let it go....shoot the entire parade
>in one long take..... automatic sync sound whether you want it or
>not..... home video is a very different kind of moving picture.
>Wasn't it Jonas Mekas who said that home movies are the great folk
>art of the 20th century middle class? (no, I don't remember where I
>read that...)
>Full disclosure - in my first screen appearance, I peed on my
>grandmother. Although she is long gone and my bladder control is
>faultless these days, the Kodachrome has not faded.
> - Whiteside
>For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.