Most avid readers will speak to an emotional attachment to books through associations of the senses - the roughness of the page, the smell of ink and glue - when describing a love of reading. Filmmakers and connoisseurs of film will cite an obsession with the physical properties of the celluloid through which movies are projected.
But for a generation of filmmakers who cut their filmmaker teeth by shooting with the family camcorder and editing with two VCRs, there is a logical fixation with the object of the plastic and magnetic 1/2” VHS videocassette and the visual artifacts of its recorded image.
Two movies will be released in the next months which hold the VHS aesthetic dear. One is Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind in which two video store clerks decide to deal with a store full of accidentally erased tapes by remaking the classic movies in their own, VHS homebrew fashion.
The other paean to VHS is Son of Rambow, Garth Jennings’ film which was the darling of Sundance this year. The title is that of the homebrewed movie that two little boys make after discovering and being mindblown by a bootleg copy of Rambo: First Blood on VHS.
No trailer yet for Son of Rambow, but a review from The New York Times.
This begs the question: with Super-8 and VHS all but a distant memory, with MiniDV on the way to extinction, what formats will the future filmmakers obsess over and what artifacts will they attempt to reproduce for nostalgia as they grow up and the formats of their youth are phased out?
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