Coffee Shop Screens Old Home Movies
Last Sunday at 'Cool Hand Of A Girl', a coffee shop in the junction, I sat around with a bunch of strangers, watching old Super 8 home movies on a white pull down screen. The 'Home Made Movies History Project' holds these casual screenings, encouraging people to bring their own films. The HMHP catalogues people's old home movies because they regard them as important historical records of everyday life, "a fascinating window into the family and the endless style and objects that made up 20th century culture."
One woman brought a video her father had shot in the early fifties of a visit to Toronto by the Queen of England. It was funny seeing the old Canadian Red Ensign draped around old Toronto. The city figured prominently in a few of the films shown that night. Seeing the forties and fifties in a city I know, through such a personnalized lens gave me a much stronger feeling of connection to the period.
My small film was probably the most recent - it dates back to the early eighties. It was then that my mom borrowed a Super 8 from the school where she was teaching. Most of the film is of my dad hanging me upside down by the feet or me attempting the early stages of a sommersault that I can't quite complete. In terms of a historical document, my film isn't too impressive. My dad was dressed in much the same way
that "indie" kids dress now - with a simiar haircut too. And of course I still wear a full body pajama suit, like the one I wore in the film.
Seeing myself on screen was "Back To The Future" time travel weird. Or maybe it was more like that scene in "Timecop" with Jean-Claude Van Damme where Ron
Silver occupies the same space as his former self and melts into a gelatinous blob. The same thing started happening to me.
The audience was too busy laughing at the fat baby on-screen to notice my transformation. I started to feel sick as time went on and unfortunately, had to leave
early. With a little fresh air I realized my stomach wasn't really being sucked into a time vortex. All that hand-held stuff just makes my stomach turn.
*To get more information about the "Homemade Movies History Project" email firstname.lastname@example.org
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