Directed by Chris Esper, this short documentary explores the past, existence, ‘simpler times,’ and mortality through home movies.
With this film, you get exactly what it sets out to be, a collection of home movies from a variety of decades, families and generations over 14-minutes and it’s safe to say that the importance of bottling that nostalgia comes through immediately. It hits some of the most impactful of memories that can be captured, birthdays, Christmas mornings and family holidays, no-one can turn up their nose at watching a child open a present that they’ve longed for and begged for, that sheer joy permeates its viewers. It’s also topped with a very sentimental and flowing score that well represents the passage of time and how quickly lives moves, which this film is demonstrating.
Its concept raises the discussion of how with modern technology, capturing such moments is something that’s overly accessible and the effects of that can mean that they aren’t as precious or treasured as they once were. With the newest generation finding any and all reasons to put themselves to video, any real moments or memories most likely get lost among the fray and forgotten. Then there’s the idea that a lot of people are now capturing them with the sole intention of sharing them on social media, more concerned with the perception of that moment by friends or strangers, than remembering it. It’s the progress from candid home video to viral video, moving from something personal and an inside joke to being insincere and fodder for retweets and shares. It’s an evolution that certainly warrants a larger discussion but for those 14-minutes, this film highlights the deeper connection with more old school home videos than their modern counterparts.
The videos are all put together in a way that is constantly moving, it’s not stuck on one family or one moment, it holds brief glimpses into someone else’s world. It hits different notes and different generations, some give off a tone of respecting your elders, of giving appreciation to the people who brought you into the world and nurtured you into the person you became, while others capture the joys of childhood. It’s well put together to result in something that, although it could be considered repetitive without context or a story, is heart-warming to watch and that nostalgia brings to mind your own memories, unless perhaps you were born in the late 00’s and it may all look incredibly old fashioned and less relatable. However, if you’ve lived in a time without wi-fi or smart phones then this will certainly pluck on a few memories of simpler times.
Yesteryear shows audiences the value of home movies vs smart phone videos, the deeper emotional connection they could have and the treasures that they held. It questions whether we no longer value being able to capture our memories and doles out a plentiful serving of nostalgia. This film took a simple concept and gracefully used it to add depth and a larger meaning, it’s a lovely reminder of simpler times, of appreciating family and how life has been immeasurably changed with the advancement of technology.