The beauty of home movies can be found in the imperfect, as Péter Forgács calls it: “perfection of imperfection” after reading both Forgács’ and Fung’s essays I started to question, is the advent of technology killing the imperfection of home movies?
We live in a time where having a personal diary is very rare but facebook, Instagram or even snapchat stories become a way to record whatever is happening in people’s life. Social media has become something like a mixed media diary. There is, however, a big difference between a personal diary and social media one of them being the most obvious: one is personal and the other one is instantly available to an audience.
The popular book Diary of a Young Girl also known simply as the Diary of Anne Frank is a great example of how was the life of a Jew family during the Nazi occupation. Did Anne know her diary was going to be read by millions and made into plays and movies? if she knew, would the diary be different?
Nowadays we seem to focus more in the way that people perceive us rather than the way we perceive ourselves and the world, our personal views on social media are usually linked to what other people will think of us, we try to polish whatever we are going to post. When we have a camera pointing at us our attitude can be similar to the one that we have on social media, we represent ourselves as we want others to perceive us. This is particularly true today because we know that it is possible to instantly upload a video to youtube or post it in social media where we are going to be exposed to millions of users.
When I was a little kid, home movies were meant to be watched by family members, and rarely by friends, there was no such thing as “vine stars” or “youtube celebrities”. Our 15 minutes of fame were limited to the family and our moments on screen were sometimes too embarrassing to event want to show the footage to a broader audience. It is because of the limitations to broadcast a film that home movies used to be perfectly imperfect, and even though they usually reflected the ‘happy moments’ they were still completely unfiltered because they were meant for a small audience.
Today people not only carries a camera in their pockets at all time but also the ability to broadcast or live stream instantly. The fact that we assume that the home movies we produce can be available to anyone at any given moment makes us filter ourselves more. The filter can be literal, people can edit embellish footage with their fingertips.
Home movies as we see on films like Maelstrom are dead, what we have today is an unprecedented phenomenon of content overload and as we already know this can be a perfect tool to create thousands of cat videos, document catastrophes or simply post that funny mix of fails.