Sunday, December 26, 2010
The Home Movie
Remember home movies, which were silent, short clips that cost money to develop so you were careful what you shot?
In today's New York Times op-ed, Frank Rich writes about the above home movie, Disneyland Dream, by amateur filmmaker Robbins Barstow about his family winning a trip to Disneyland. In 2008, it was enshrined in the National Film Registry alongside many films including The Terminator and the terrific Elia Kazan/Budd Schulberg satire A Face in the Crowd.
Barstow's film achieved Library-of-Congress status 50 years after he made it, partly because in 1995 he added narration to the silent film. Who has time to do that these days?
Every point-and-shoot camera and iPhone
can now shoot video or even HD video. It can be uploaded to YouTube or sent to America's Funniest Home Videos and shared with the world. But how many home videos will ever get to the extended narrative, amateur-yet-polished stage of Barstow's film, to have long-lasting, universal appeal a half century from now?
But where will all today's visual information ultimately reside? Will the Library of Congress start archiving Funny or Die videos? Will families spend enough time together not texting or shooting photos to tell stories like Barstow's?