Function and Universality

Do family films have a function? My personal feeling is that they very often act as therapy, as a cathartic experience for the filmmaker. Often, they seem to enable one to come to grips with a relationship, as in Joe and Maxie, or settle questions of identity, as in First Person Plural. Sometimes, they enable one to deal with the loss of a mother, as Minda Martin does in Mother's Heritage, or the tragic loss of a child, as Robert Frank does in Life Dances On and in Home Improvements. But this therapeutic impulse is not always a necessity. Jan Krawitz's In Harm's Way, for example, is about recounting and revisiting an experience, and Tongues Untied is a reflection on experience. But if the question of function is open to discussion, there is another issue that I would argue is absolutely closed. Put bluntly it is this: In order to succeed, family films must have a universal message; otherwise, they run the risk of remaining home movies.

So what do I mean by home movies and why should their remaining so be bad? I would suggest that home movies are generally unstructured and without a personal voice, are rarely creative, tend to be simplistically observational rather than analytical, and are of interest to only a very limited audience. By contrast, the creative family film must provide some wider social observation. It aims to bring sensitivity, feeling, understanding, and microscopic investigation to bear on the complex web of family relations. Occasionally, this concentration of gaze will bring pleasure. Often, it will bring pain. But there is one thing it must do above all else; it must reveal and illuminate some universal aspect of human emotions and human actions. It should vibrate for us, the observers and members of the audience, and bring new meanings and understandings into our lives. This is easier said than done, but without these elements, the personal film will remained grounded, unable to take off, unable to provide inspiration to the wider world.

Film Making

Film Making

If you have ever wanted the secrets to making your own film, here it is: Indy Film Insider Tips And Basics To Film Making. Have you ever wanted to make your own film? Is there a story you want to tell? You might even think that this is impossible. Studios make films, not the little guy. This is probably what you tell yourself. Do you watch films with more than a casual eye? You probably want to know how they were able to get perfect lighting in your favorite scene, or how to write a professional screenplay.

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