Home is a montage of memories with curved edges. It’s gently emotive, drawing the audience in, through affecting music, and when it accepts and leans into its slowness it can be beautiful.
However, there is an evident self-consciousness in the ordering of the piece. Littered amongst scenes of profound intimacy, wherein characters directly address the camera and unravel their subconscious, are emotionally heightened, narrative based interactions: a date, an argument, a confession. During these dialogic scenes, the honesty and rawness seems compromised, and I felt most aware that I was watching a performance.
Perhaps this was inevitable as the ‘snapshot’ form means any attempt to create a narrative arc within a scene must be compressed, either heavy in exposition or emphatic in scene-setting. Perhaps, they are apologetic from the start. And, trying so hard to be intense or dramatic, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that they stretch for conventional conflicts like break-ups or pregnancies, feeling more cliché than universal. These scenes lack the detail and specificity of truly personal experiences.
It is only when the writing abandons this need to be understood narratively with distinct characters and gravitates instead towards emotional communication that Home suspended my disbelief.
Watching someone’s gaze flit, mapping out or pinning down thoughts which defy vocalisation is transfixing. It is the power of subtlety that film, as a medium, can achieve beyond theatre. And, at numerous points within Home this detail discovers a level of truthfulness I have not yet seen in NSDF21.
But I wonder whether the piece, to its on detriment, was too preoccupied with the fear of losing the audience’s attention, or nervous to explore the mundaneness which is interwoven into the very notion of Home. The impression I got was that this piece tried very hard to maintain its freshness, but was that at the compromise of its coherence?