Nothing can create nostalgia like a movie camera. There is something about the moving image that can trigger emotions like few other mediums can. It is easy to get lost in a film; they have the awesome ability of capturing and recreating the past. The nostalgic value of the cinema is immense, but where professionals recreate, amateurs simply need to record. When it comes to remembrance, nothing comes close to the power of home movies. The unprofessional quality of home movies—the poor sound quality, the unedited images—do not impair their power; they are what makes them all the more endearing. These amateur aspects of home movies have also become an often-used effect in the world of professional cinema. When a film wants to be wistful, emotional, and touching, nothing can achieve the same effect as old-fashioned home movies.
[...] Each scene in the home movies is shown just long enough to create a certain feeling; there are no long or meandering shots. Anyone who has viewed actual home movies knows that the real things are often much less aesthetically pleasing. These home movies are the result of professional filmmakers doing their best to seem like amateurs. Instead of shooting the footage as a film crew would, they shot it in the way a family would. As Clark Griswold sits teary-eyed watching the home movies of a Christmas long ago, the viewer can't help but feel nostalgic as well. [...]
[...] Clark Griswold, a man obsessed with providing his family with the “perfect” Christmas, stumbles across some old home movies in the attic and becomes enamored; taken in by the past. In the freezing attic, Clark sets up the projector and begins running the reels of film. The images flicker on the piece of cardboard they are projected upon, and Clark's face is instantly filled with emotion. The home movies are of a Christmas decades ago, when Clark was a young boy. [...]
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