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average rating is 4 out of 5


James Learoyd


Posted on:

Jul 6, 2024

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Traian Pasculescu
Written by:
Dribbler (text/lyrics)

Homesick is a new short documentary, at least technically speaking; but you would perhaps be more accurate to describe the piece as a home video. The filmmakers have described the film as “A short, nostalgic retrospection relating to a place that we call ‘home’” - and, as you can probably tell, this word home is effectively the driving force of the work, exploring its cultural definition and importance. As alluded to, the film is told in a unique way: all of the footage we see is videotape shot in 1996. There is no narrative and no diegetic sound. Overlaid is voiceover and music further evoking what home means. It’s ostensibly a short montage, depicting family and friends – work and play, told with love for both the past and the place.


So, what effect does the look of videotape footage have on an audience? Arguably the most prominent feeling evokes in the viewer is one of familiarity – reminding one of the experience of watching back their own home movies. It creates an unusually warm atmosphere; one not always achievable in fiction filmmaking or a scene that’s been shot and manipulated to give the appearance of a home video. It’s clearly different, however, to the sensibility of super-8 film -- think the iconic sequence in Wim Wenders’ Paris Texas (1984) -- which becomes exceedingly beautiful for its artisanal texture and colours.


Video produces a much less flattering image, but one which suits this doc perfectly. The reason being that instead of the spectator focusing on form, we are compelled to focus purely on the subjects in the frame as if it were genuine reality right in front of us. We therefore feel immersed in the behaviours of the people, the feeling of the country, and the loving, playful nature of the movie’s overall sentiment. Additionally, on a social level, it’s always interesting to view candid images from a different time or culture – even if that difference is only slight, there is a deeply personal quality to it.


The central idea of the piece is spoken through voiceover. It discusses the eternal nature of home’s meaning and how it serves as a source of personal peace. This is a pleasant and sincere sentiment on its own, but it could be argued that the visuals speak for themselves without the aid of narration. For the audience, it’s endearing to see the cheekiness of the individuals and their jokey attitude to one another, although it’s even more endearing to observe routine activities: for instance, seeing a man fixing a car, noticing the camera, and smiling. We feel empathy and a connection to that person on screen.


To surmise, what Homesick offers is a simple, succinct, but rich viewing experience, and it certainly achieves its goal of feeling like home. The audience will appreciate the emotional ideas present, and the artist’s sense of nostalgia makes itself known through the efficiently impressionistic editing. With a runtime of less than five minutes, the documentary provides a fleeting glimpse into another life.

About the Film Critic
James Learoyd
James Learoyd
Short Film, Documentary, World Cinema
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