A few weeks back Liz posted some great pictures from the Lothar and Eva Just Film Stills Collection we’ve been working on here at the HFA.  The organization and cataloging of this amazing collection has been ongoing since 2009, and we’re pleased to announce that portions of the collection are now accessible and searchable in an online finding aid:

Lothar and Eva Just Film Stills Collection

The collection contains approximately 800,000 film stills, pressbooks, posters, and other ephemera originally amassed by Lothar Just, a Munich-based film publicist.  Just’s collection began in the gathering of image and source material for the annual film lexicons which he continues to publish.

While the collection contains significant holdings from the silent era, its greatest strength lies in vintage images from the 1930s-1970s, as well as images from the last 40 years.  Thanks to Just’s and Munich’s close connection with the New German Cinema, the collection contains important holdings on postwar German film.  The collection is also particularly strong in the areas of German pre-war and very rare Nazi era cinema.  In addition, the Just film stills significantly represent North American and European cinema while including excellent materials for internationally known Chinese, Japanese and Latin American filmmakers.  Much of the material is German-language, regardless of the country of origin.

The finding aid will be updated on a monthly basis as more items are processed and become available for public access, so keep checking back on our progress!

pressbooks

THE SEVEN SAMURAI (AKA SHICHININ NO SAMURAI, Akira Kurosawa, 1954) pressbook cover

THE HIDDEN FORTRESS (AKA KAKUSHI-TORIDE NO SAN-AKUNIN, Akira Kurosawa, 1958) pressbook cover. This pressbook is bound with string, visible on the left.

back cover of THE HIDDEN FORTRESS pressbook

Pressbook cover for COP-IN (aka LA NOCHE DE LA FURIA, Carlos Aured, 1974)

Home Movie Day 2010

November 12th, 2010

Every year, the Harvard Film Archive participates in the international event Home Movie Day.  Members of the public are invited to bring their family films to be inspected & screened.  This year the HFA again partnered with Boston Street Lab (the good folks who bring films to the Chinatown gate every summer) to bring HMD to the Boston Waterfront.

Local filmmaker and friend of the archive Brittany Gravely has provided this report.

HOME MOVIE DAY BOSTON 2010
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Oct. 16.  I approached the corporate tower cautiously, watching the
eerily bright autumn sun fall on the gritty starkness of Boston’s
seaport before my sluggish gaze led me to an understated sign
announcing this much anticipated event.  After a few words with the
security guard, I headed toward a grey room with one glass wall and a
“business casual” kind of air to it.  Sure, the usual cinematic flurry
and caffeinated flourish filled this sterile “Public Room” of the
building (auspiciously titled “Independence Wharf”), and certainly,
the doting eyes and saccharin smiles of Amy Sloper, Liz Coffey, Tara
Nelson, Melissa Dollman, Albert Steg, Zach Long, and Sam Davol guided
me through the rewinds, past the cookies and into the neat lines of
new chairs in front of flat panel TV screens.

Yet, somehow, I felt a cold chill inside.  Gone were the days between
library bookshelves or cramped screening rooms or the familiar
creepiness of the back room at the Harvard Film Archive.  This thing
had exploded, I realized.  Soon, I supposed, there would be all the
hype, the usual cast of celebrities (Oprah, Bono, Obama) and the
inevitable product placement. We would be seeing Home Movie Day Barbie
with a plastic Super 8 projector and screen.

As it turned out, I was way off mark.  Aside from a hip radio reporter
interrogating me about the blasphemous rituals and sacred light dances
of this annual affair, a modest coterie of the standard weirdoes and
new, hipper, more curious kids milled around – each probably wondering
how even this many people cared about amateur small gauge in this
digital day and age.

And of course, Albert and Liz opened with their usual melodrama:  you
could have cut the tension in the room with a Rivas splicer.
Victoriously retrieving a missing projector cord at the last minute,
Steg burst into the room as if delivering an Olympic medal – stealing
the spotlight from the platinum-haired film mistress.  Liz might have
committed some type of unspeakable crime had she not gotten so worked
up over the sorry task of delivering Kodachrome’s last call; December
is the last month EVER for processing.  And with that slit of the
celluloid wrist, we were off!

… to a sunny black-and-white day in 1927 on 16mm.  Liz culled this gem
from the prestigious shelves of the Harvard Film Archive itself.
Apparently, a Scranton, Pennsylvania man donated his collection of
home movies.  His family had been in the lucrative textile business,
enabling him to purchase film stock – unusual and expensive at that
time.

The first title read “Here’s How We Looked in 1927,” and in this
reporter’s humble opinion, they looked just fine!  In the first scene,
well-dressed children try to hold a cat that doesn’t want to be held
and when their mother rescues it, they get angry and resort to picking
up a less-ornery leaf so they have something to show the camera.
Everyone in this film really liked posing and looking swanky for the
future.  The stylish people in stylish cars also appeared to truly
love their animals and each other very much.  Young and old posed and
played with the cat and dog, and the older folk smooched each other
whenever they had a chance.  In one of the many highlights on this
reel, two little girls and their dolls jump and somersault around a
little bedroom – looking so cute and crazy.

But the real clincher is the next chapter, “The Four-Legged Members of
the Family.”  It starts out innocently enough with a man prodding a
cat in a tree with a stick, yet soon turns into Outrageous Animal
Cuteness Extravaganza!  Liz should have warned those prone to seizures
of the extended dog-and-cat-at-play-on-front-porch scenes featuring
such ecstatic shots as Cat Cleaning Dog’s Face immediately followed by
Cat Hugging and Attacking Dog’s Face.  The dog obviously liked both,
and I swear he turned to us with a knowing smile!  These 20’s animals
were really independent and spunky, and we got to see more during the
section facetiously titled “Some More of the Two-Legged Ones.”  It
featured two-legged chickens – pretty ones running amok around short,
strange trees.

In the next part, “The Boss and His Boss,” we see what appears to be
the son and his parents with more kissing and animals and hamming it
up in a sunny room.  The final “Where the Boss and his Boss Live”
featured wide-angle exterior shots of this now-famous house of
human/animal harmony.

The fascinating and witty Brittany Gravely presented her parents’
color roll of Super 8 from Memorial Day in 1970.  Also set in
Pennsylvania, this one was a leisurely suburban paradise of
picnicking, soccer and poodles.  Her casually-mod parents both made
appearances – one sitting with the poodles; the other playing soccer,
yet distracted with the perfect placement of his hair.  The smaller
poodle really stole the show in repeated shots of her on hyper-alert
during the intense backyard ball game.

Amy Sloper found a few reels of Kodachrome from the 60s at a yard
sale.  The first one she showed had a titillating warning on the can:
“Don’t Show Guests!”  Initially I wondered if it was because of the
throngs of youth crowding around cars, or the strange journeys of the
businessmen who were shaking hands, following geese, and walking with
fancy ladies on the boardwalk.  Perhaps it was that shot of the
lighthouse or the woman in red posing with the dog who may have
unfortunately torn her stocking.  Surely it would not have been due to
the hooded kid out in the woods with a dog or those darling girls in
nice dresses playing Ring Around the Roses in the yard.  It could have
been the older couple on a rocky shore, for at one point, the man is
doing exhibitionistic leg bends for all to see.  Maybe it was the
abruptness of the sudden shift to a football game in a stadium and the
obscenity of the wide-shot of the marching band. (At this point, Liz
had to chime in about football being one of the most common film
subjects and to this day, much of it is still shot on film.)  No, no,
it must have been because of the sickeningly idyllic town parade
(another common film event according to Coffey). Such a
middle-American slice of life with boy and girl scouts in all of their
glory would have been hard for most friends and relatives to take.
The repulsive closing shots of a man caring for his yard would have
sealed the deal, and this poor family would have been aliens in their
own neighborhood.  Liz tucked that controversial reel back into its
metallic sheathe and moved onto more benign subject matter…

It was the World Premiere of Mike’s document of the 1984 Mother’s Day
Peace March in Chicago!  Not only that, but it was on mag-striped 8mm,
and featured both sync audio and atmospheric music that he recorded
onto the stripe in post.  Mike was there to give us background on this
fateful day:  it was the year of the presidential election featuring
Ronald Reagan as well as Jesse Jackson as the 3rd party candidate.  He
was following his landlady and her young daughter as they traveled to
the march via train through the gritty, industrial city of wind.  It
would have even been a more somber affair had the projector not been
playing the film at such a high speed.  Once the tiny chipmunk voice
spewed through a megaphone held by a normal-sized man, we realized the
error.  Liz performed some of her voodoo on the temperamental belt so
that we could hear about the US’s involvement in Honduras and Costa
Rica at a proper pitch.  Clowns, giant puppets, people on bikes &
skates, hippy-types and even authentic 80s punks swirled before our
eyes during one of the musical interludes.  (I also noticed a field of
dandelions in a large median area:  a mundane observation, perhaps,
but due to the obsession with grassy monocultures in parks these days,
you just don’t see those freewheeling yellow scallywags out & about
like that in the city anymore.)  These montages were broken up by
passionate speakers in pursuit of ending the arms race and other lofty
goals.  Finally, a young comedian steals the show with his Jesse
Jackson impersonation – I couldn’t keep up with the onslaught of comic
jewels, i.e.:  “Our thirst to be strong causes us to drink from the
cup of wrong!”  Then he launched into this whole “I have a scheme…”
speech that really got both live and recorded audiences all riled up.
After a funny song about Reagan and this amazing giant-headed Reagan
puppet guy, the day winds down into a game of Frisbee and the sweet
sound of the mandolin.

Tara and Gordon were rooting around in the garbage one day and came up
with “Carmen & Claire’s Wedding 1952” on color 8mm.  It begins
deceptively enough with women walking the city streets flanked by
their respective children, and then we are thrown into the chaos of a
wedding party erupting out of the church.  Again, everyone is so cute
and stylish.  In fact, the maid of honor is so stunning she distracts
me from the not-unlovely bride.  (I am starting to think that this is
a day of beautiful people and I am really wondering if ugliness is
just one of the nasty byproducts of the digital age.) This one
character tries to break up the marital monotony by waving at us with
his thumbs in his ears.  But antics like that on top of Gordon’s
musical choice of his “Symphony of the Birds” record – classical music
accompanied by birds from the insane asylum – will get you nowhere
reel fast, buddy.

Liz tossed on another one from the Scranton collection; this one a
color 16mm number from 1946.  She supposed that it was the
construction of a textile factory we were witnessing with the casual
workers smoking up on the girders and what not.  An unusual subject
for the home movie crowd, I dare say.

Kelly’s color Super 8 reel from 1961 was transferred to the digital
medium so we watched on one of those fancy tee-vees they had set up
there.  It was Wisconsin and her Great Aunt’s wedding.  Immediately we
are inundated with a flock of lovely ladies in the receiving line and
handsome young men milling about.  Due to this abundance of attractive
competition no doubt, the groom had to wipe some sweat from his brow
before taking the solemn vows with his bride and then it was total
smooch time!  Man, this is really an X-rated show this year – you
don’t even know the half of it.  Maybe the mayor hasn’t caught on yet,
but the dramatic musical accompaniment had, and by the time a cute
little girl in an extra fluffy dress a/k/a a living piece of candy
parades in front of us, they cut to the reception and the film runs
out.

After all those superfluous trifles, we need to get back to some
substance with Jane’s flick from 1969 – originally on 16mm, now on VHS
– featuring students protesting Vietnam at Fordham University.  As the
Terry Riley-esque avant garde soundtrack plays, we see the
establishing shots of the campus and then a sign on a door that states
informatively: “Nov. 12.”  We get to watch part of a performance art
piece which Jane explains is illustrating Jesuits brainwashing the
youth.  Handwritten inter-titles explain in further detail the student
occupation of the university, and we learn that the young man on the
microphone is speaking about their goal to rid the campus of ROTC.
Another intertitle:  “Let’s Go!”  and then the confrontation with
President Walsh:  “Walsh, will you abolish ROTC?” / “NO!” / “We’ll be
back!”  And they march on.

Every year Peter wows us with his picture-perfect 50s childhood
propaganda, so this year, I came prepared with a fabricated
documentation of my upbringing in a fairy castle by dancing
rainbow-colored unicorns.  However, the Photoshopped prints crunched
in my incredulous fists as I sat through Peter’s amazing hand-drawn
animations that he created at age 11 – the same age I think I learned
that you’re not supposed to swallow the toothpaste when you brush.  Me
and My Monster starred Terry the Pterodactyl in one of his few
onscreen appearances.  In the town of Monstersville, an alien and a
robot chase the wiley dinosaur.  “Sorry, regrets, and all that
pterodactyl stuff” he says at one point.  The robot curses, the alien
turns into a crazy flying mobile, and there is this incomprehensible
“eye scene” – I’ll leave it at that.  The so-called “Dr. Perry Cure
All” sends the alien around the moon, the robot’s head smashes into
bits and comes back together, and somehow Saturn is left punctured and
sagging.  I couldn’t write fast enough to keep up with the elaborate
mind-bending plots of these films, so let’s just say that Terry’s
second feature, The Saucer Scare surprisingly involves some
post-modern touches, like a hand drawing a tree that then itself turns
into a tree, and less-surprisingly details the adventures of a flying
saucer going here, there and everywhere … finally smashing into the
moon.

Drawn in a similar simple black line style, The Legend of Sleepy
Hollow was a 6th grade class collaboration, but no less precocious, my
friends.  As it turns out, the town of TappanZee is haunted by the
so-called Headless Hessia Trooper, ie. The Headless Horseman.  What
shocked me most about this drama was the sarcasm in the inter-titles;
for instance, Brom Bones’ obnoxious performance at the big dance is
dryly noted: “The Life of the Party”.  I really thought kids in the
60s were less jaded.  Anyway, some of the highlights emerge when
Ichabad Crane and Brom fall in love with the same woman.  There is a
split screen scene, a mirror shot, and a great part when the mailman
delivering Kathryn’s invitations is walking this jazzy walk –
personifying the potential excitement contained in his mail.
Headless’s head on the back of the horse is tossed dramatically at
Crane and the rest is history.

Another infamous HMD staple here this year, Reed, was a cinematic
child prodigy as well.  Unfortunately, child stardom comes at a price.
He now spends his kodachrome on illegal drug promotion during these
supposedly family-friendly events.  It was a hedonistic reunion of
sorts in the woods of Canton, Mass.  Reed and his comrades passed the
all-too-familiar pipe around and then, no doubt believing they are
superhuman, start doing headstands and other preposterous feats.  One
man appears to die of an overdose and the stoned filmmaker ascends a
relatively modest stairway to heaven that looks a lot like a nature
trail.

Reed then takes a breather from the fast-lane by joining his parents,
sister and wife in Woods Hole where they wave and smile at the camera
outside a comfortable-looking house appropriately located in the
middle of the woods.  Just as I was thinking some family values were
finally re-emerging here, Liz – subject to all of these second-hand
cinematic intoxicants – started having problems focusing the
projector.

Now that everyone was feeling vulnerable and light-headed, the
projectionists suggested that a good old-fashioned game of gambling
was in order.  So they threaded up The Broadway Handicap – a 16mm game
of fun and fortune which basically features a short horse race, but
you can bet on your number and then see who wins at the end.  I
intuited that number six was the horse to watch, and it paid off with
a gift certificate for a film-to-video transfer!  Maybe a life of
crime isn’t so bad after all….

Another Super 8 from the enigmatic Brittany then appeared on the
silver screen.  Again, the setting was 1970-esque Pennsylvania and her
mom stood outside in the snow before her grandparents’ house.  My –
oh, I mean – her father was taking photos of whoever had the movie
camera in a little reflexive flourish and then he snapped some pics of
the Christmas tree in their front window.  Brittany admitted to being
taken a little aback by her dad’s former mod style and fancy free
behavior on an icy lake.  Everyone whistled and hooted when her
youthful high-hemmed grandmother appeared on the scene next to a suave
grandfather, rockabilly uncle and cool aunt.  Obviously, coolness and
style run in this fabulous family.

When Jorge presented his YouTube find from 1948 (I didn’t even know
they had computers then) of a musical performance by or of or about
“Felix Cardozo” or something like that, I took my bathroom break.
They only let you have one and it seemed like the right time.  No
offense, Jorge.

I got back just in time for Tara to update us on Carmen and Claire.
What had become of them, you ask?  Well on their anniversary,
documented in Kodachromatic color Super 8, they appeared dark and
underexposed – I feared the ravages of time had taken quite a toll.
Yet when the lights came up we saw that they were much older but still
really cute and still knew how to kiss at the right moment.

Albert called his flea market 16mm find, “The Miracle of Christmas,”
and for good reason!  A chubby businessman-to-be gets everything he
wants on this joyous holiday.  His 1950’s booty is either displayed
like a store window or proudly modeled:  a globe, a toy train with
bridge, lots of pretty books, bow & arrow, a fancy watch, and most
importantly, these crazy marionettes – which become a guaranteed gift
over the course of the successive Christmases we get to witness.  I
kept wanting to ridicule this boy for his spoiled upbringing, but it
was pretty hard.  Mostly because of his relationship with this great
dog who he kissed and made sure received plenty of attention even when
he was supposed to be showing off the product array.  And over the
years, the products keep coming:  games, giant candy canes, a
taxidermied squirrel, a tool bench …

Again, just as I was about to scoff at his wealth and privilege, he
types on his new typewriter and presents the results to the camera.
“I love you,” it says.  I weep myself through the brief segue to a
color roll and now these goodies appear even more decadent and
lascivious:  a “Mystoplane”?, boots, “Erector” set, skates, still more
marionettes (Snow White & the Seven Dwarves), and another giant candy
cane.  He models with his fancy red bike which is much too big and
proudly writes at his new desk like a banker in his little tie and
knickers.  Meanwhile, his dog is his constant companion. The closing
shot is him sitting on his bed with the dog, while a crazy monkey toy
lurks ominously in the background.

Taking us back to a more innocent, less gilded time, Liz threw on her
Super 8 kodachrome of the Topsfield Fair two weeks ago.  Despite the
fun-sounding topic, it was really a scientific study of the
Tilt-a-Whirl from both the observer and participant point-of-view.
Such dry academia is to be expected from this Harvard-employed
archivist.

Amy presented the companion found reel to her “don’t show to guests”
film, and some in the audience rightly supposed that the cans were
switched and the warning was really meant for this one.  It was a 1962
color document of an unnamed African town that the American tourists
visited.  The urban zone looked Cape Town-ish to me, but then they
take us to a stranger plain with palm trees and folks hanging out.  We
see many sights:  bananas and baskets paraded around, bare-chested
African ladies, boats along the shore, a cemetery… On their car ride,
we get to ogle some wider shots of softly rolling mountains of green
and bulbous, low-hanging clouds.  There is much time spent at a mine
or refinery of some kind (and at this point, the accompanying record
is loungey cocktail music so it’s a little weird.  But it matches up
when twinkling sounds are heard as rocks and water tumble and
glisten.)  The men walk across a crazy swinging bridge into a
pornographic fantasy zone:  just as the music switches to a more
“exotic” sound, they shed their clothes and skinny dip before our eyes
– their naked selves rolling about in the gentle rapids.  This was
definitely a private reel!  One guy pretends to be a monkey hanging
off a branch and we get this mysterious jungle POV shot just as the
gong signals the music changing again.  A glorious sky and sparkling
water rinses away these sins of the flesh….

Next stop:  some kind of special event for tourists features a chain
of grass huts around a sandy field where an African marching band
performs.  We are taken to the covered area where a bunch of 16mm
cameras – including Bolexes – are documenting the day’s events.  I
have to say this reel was pretty incredible. There were a lot of white
Westerners spectating traditionally-dressed tribal-looking folk who
were putting on amazing shows all around them: dancing, drumming and
an onslaught of beautiful outfits, feathered headdresses, painted and
adorned women, fancy arrows and other lovely, handcrafted
paraphernalia. It ends with the breast-feeding of a child, and despite
the cross-cultural problematics, I think we all feel somewhat
nourished by such rare, if fleeting, scenes of indigenous Africa.

Back in the States, Matt showed a b/w 16mm roll from 1938 when his
Great Aunt graduated from Vassar.  (He revealed that she just died
four weeks ago.)  The graduates receive their diplomas and participate
in other formalities. Women relax in chairs with paperwork and snacks
outside – I’m not sure what kind of graduation tradition that is, but
they look happy and comfortable, so that’s really the important thing.
Three older ladies go swimming in a lake and I think they are holding
hands at some point, but I have to be frank with you that my
handwriting becomes so totally obscure at this point and my memory is
so pathetic, that I can only make out something about a charming
picnic and a man waving from a car before the ink of my psyche totally
disappears altogether….

I guess it was not senility but just good old-fashioned female
intuition because guess who but drug-addled Reed was on the scene next
with one of his 13-year-old creations which won 2nd Place in the 1971
Washington Society of Cinematographers.  For those of you new to
Reed’s childhood, he and his friends would make movies and then sell
tickets to the neighborhood youth.  For this one, they had a separate
soundtrack, but it wasn’t working for us today.  Yeah, these kids had
class:  their production company was called “Reepeete Prod.” and this
film even featured a hand-drawn focus frame.  Big surprise it was
called How to Break the Habit in Four Easy Steps.  This title and the
opening credits were revealed in a really clever technique using text
on triangular-shaped rods that rotate.  A cat burglar breaks into a
house and is stealing all the silver when he drops a tray, waking the
old man who gets his gun and shoots him.  This allows the real fabric
of the story to unfold, for the burglar’s life flashes before his eyes
and we see a montage of meaningful moments:  Christmastime, a baseball
game, at church, smoking pot, shooting up heroin – you know those
unforgettable moments in all of our lives …  But its all over for this
derelict.  The door opens to “The End” and the typed credits roll.

Brittany’s third and final roll of the day was her own Super 8
handiwork from back in aught five or six, I believe.  Although she
claimed they were jellyfish at the New England Aquarium, they looked
more like out-of-focus moving blobs of color to me.  These are very
difficult to catch on film, so it proved to be a real treat for both
the biologists and laypersons in the room.

Matt had to show us more lurid behind-the-scenes Vassar rituals in a
print faded blood red.  They were putting on some kind of elaborate
outdoor theatre piece and there was singing and occultist
flower-wearing involved.  Some more mundane cap-and-gown action is
also included on this roll as well as a line of amazing 30s outerwear.
A cigarette is lit, and that’s all the Vassar grad wrote.

Just when you thought, things couldn’t get any dicier during our
increasingly sketchy afternoon …. Tara and Gordon strive to win the
prize for Most Controversial Roll of the Day, and perhaps they succeed
here.  It is a thrift-store-found film from 1950s Western Pennsylvania
starring little white girls in blackface!  It appears to be some kind
of highly-questionable school or church play and the kids on stage all
look like miniature Aunt Jemimas.  There are also banjoes and other
accoutrements of the stereotypical black south, in addition to a
recorder section.  A jarring jump cut to a strange man in a paneled
room with a boy in a cap and gown probably took on darker tones due to
the previous scenes.

The third act is a slightly heavy-handed on the symbolic front:  an
angelic little girl constantly blinded by the movie light (created by
the Father, presumably).  It is the Mother who then encourages by her
to play dress-up in women’s clothing, to assume traditional, expected
roles.  But the carefree creature has more avant-garde ideas in mind,
like delicately balancing the fur stole on her head.  An in the
bravura dénoument, an older, dark-haired girl dances the flamenco
around the innocent youth.

Even after this awkward, offensive, and pretentious parade of light
shapes, the Home Movie Day powers-that-be let another Tara & Gordon
found color, super 8 roll slip by the censors.  This apparently
innocuous piece of fluff (baby in a swing, crazy backyard diorama,
picnic, patio lounging, etc.) of generic suburban stock footage
apparently took a turn down Mulholland Drive.  About the time the
poodles arrived, we all realized it was an entry-way into some kind of
möbius-looped parallel dimension; we were looking into a skewed mirror
of that Pennsylvanian Memorial Day reel of only moments ago…

We all signed non-disclosure forms and ate more of Amy Sloper’s
completely normal cookies….

Ah, the next delightful film was an 8mm Kodachrome from that brilliant
year 1938!  Do you remember?  It was Christmastime and our giant
family waited for the equally giant turkey is to be carved.  We
gathered around the table and in the living room.  (Scandinavian tunes
on the record player added to the festivities.)  Laughter, merriment
fills the room.  A child plays with the family dog.  Even as we clean
it all up and put the decorations away, we have an unimaginably
wonderful time!  Before you knew it, it was summertime and we enjoyed
a sun-drenched picnic on the lake.  Girls in cute skirted suits (that
was the style!) played in the water and pulled a canoe to shore.  I
recall that one woman alone in the boat…. Whatever became of her?

Another young lady is dropped off at the train station (the locomotive
says “Boston” on the side), for she is leaving town and we see her
off.  This is when things get fuzzy:  the lake, a tree-lined shore, a
boatyard… older people in the yard with flowers, a street lined with
cars… is there something floating in the lake? … a memorial site …
lush fauna…

At this point, I’m in and out of consciousness.  The effects of the
cookies are wearing off and they know it.  Only a few more films …

Just like that I am transported through “The Gates” of Christo as
filmed by Reed in NYC in 2005 on dazzling Super 8.  His wife and son
accompany us through the artful shots of orange fabric slowly blowing
in the wind and the sun.  Each fold is given quiet attention.  Reed
wears a matching orange scarf in solidarity with the poetic.

Matt’s b/w 16mm reel from 1903 was the kindest, bravest, warmest, most
wonderful piece of cinema I have ever seen in my life.  Ladies in
white hats and dresses smoke at a garden party and pick fruit in the
yard.  A dream come true.

Finally, we had to bet on another horse race, so the HMD team could
attempt to make up for their losses.  Sam encourages those still
relatively cognizant not to lose faith and to come back to the next
Home Movie Day, which will also probably be supported and promoted by
he and his wife Leslie’s innovative non-profit, Boston Street Lab.

As for me, I ponder this bizarre hallucination through the Twilight
Zone (apparently located in Pennsylvania or thereabouts) we have just
experienced.  Home Movie Day always strikes a delicate balance between
transcendence and banality, the obsolete and state-of-the-art, art and
artlessness, voyeurism and … the opposite of that.  In the end, it
seems we are coming to terms with our past and embracing the future by
communally participating in the ritual of witnessing other peoples’
shared rituals.  Thus, we have to go through the good times and the
seamier ones, not to mention all of those leaks into parallel
universes, etc. … just comes with the territory, I guess.

– Brittany Gravely