Home Movie Day is October 18, and everyone from Martin Scorsese to John Waters is urging all of us to participate.
The Center for Home Movies collects, preserves, provides access to, and promotes understanding of home movies and amateur motion pictures.
For my parents’ 25th anniversary, I organized all of our family’s home movies, going back to the 1930’s. For their 50th, my sister had them put on DVD for each of us. No matter how well we know those images, there are always surprises (and not just how young and beautiful everyone was). Footage of our communities and the places we visited remind us of how much has changed.
Contrary to all of the jokes about how endlessly boring other people’s home movies are, there is an extraordinary poignancy and even art in many of them. Long before the days of YouTube and “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” people were recording their families and occasions and archives of these films are beginning to be available online. One of the acknowledged greats of home movies is Robbins Barstow. His 30-minute film of his family’s trip to Disneyland in 1956, one year after it opened, is an engaging artifact of an era and an almost-impossibly functional family. Twenty years earlier, Barstow and his brothers made a home movie version called “Tarzan and the Rocky Gorge” that is reminiscient of the marvelous “Son of Rambow” its verve and imagination. Barstow’s recollection of the making of that film and its sequel 38 years later is a delight. ” Watching these visual records of little pieces of our lives served as a real bonding instrument,” Barstow says. Home movie day should inspire everyone to get out their movies and watch them together to remind everyone in the family about where you’ve been and those you love.