Mining the Home Movie: Excavations in Histories and Memories

By Karen L. Ishizuka; Patricia R. Zimmermann | Go to book overview

14 Home Away from Home
Private Films from the Dutch East Indies

NICO DE KLERK

Home movies in their intended family settings differ from other types of movie screenings, as Eric de Kuyper and Roger Odin have argued.1 The most significant difference is that home movies have participants rather than spectators. Not only do family members participate in the making of the home movie to the point of handing the camera from one family member to another, they also participate in creating coherence in and making sense of their images while these are being screened. It is in the conversations among family members that a home movie or series of home movies is made into a meaningful whole. Dates, locations, events, and people are identified, wider contexts are provided, stories elicited, and relations between individual shots are established or disavowed. Many things will not be mentioned during such screenings as they are mutually presupposed by those present. Conversely, the images also give rise to remarks concerning matters not explicitly represented. Home movie screenings in their intended family settings are, one might say, a gathering of bonimenteurs (lecturers).


Memories

Once home movies become separated from their original settings, however, they undergo changes in coherence and meaning. Two amateur film compilation series, Cinememo (1990) and Volkskino: Amateur Films from the GDR (1991), illustrate this shift quite clearly, not in the least because they imitate the original viewing situation by having participants comment on their films. “The film is so old, I can hardly remember the images…. We shot it, watched it a couple of times. What it is will be as new for me as for

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