Monday, August 18, 2003

Home Movies

In today’s LA Times, I read an article about Home Movie Day at the Japanese American National Museum in LA. People took their old home movies, “old canisters of film, stored away for decades, glimpses of lives and places that no longer exist.”

It seems the purpose was not only to share them with others, but to be able to view them for the first time in many years, perhaps the first time ever. The article didn’t explain this, but I imagine a lot more people possess old movies than have the old equipment needed to view them.

This was a very emotional process for the participants. I can only imagine. People have grown up, grown old, passed on. Homes have been left behind or have disappeared. Communities and landscapes have changed. The film archivist who lead the session said, "The world is changing in really subtle ways."

We don’t really have any old movies in my family. We have lots of photographs. And I can relate to the fundamental constant of human life, that the precious past is falling away into a yellowing mist. Those were the days. Beautiful days.

But what really jumps out at me from this article — just as clearly as the fact that I miss grandparents, dogs, childhood, the youth of my parents and the innocence of my community — is that the world is changing. Not just my subjective experience of it, but the world itself. The world is different, we are adapting to its new character. Is it still home? If so, what does that say about us? If not, what then?

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