How Homely are Home Movies? (Vol. 1, No. 1)

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It is on record that the modern world has gone agog with many scientific and technological discoveries, and the new culture of video watching in the lives of youths which assumed positions of importance in our country are home video, computers, facsimile and satellite dish. But it is assumed that the one most accessible to them as yet is HOME MOVIE, hence the present interest in it. Today, less than two decades after its invention, home video has become a regular feature of middle class homes of the urban areas.

Nevertheless, that the above theme has been variously reflected by many scholars is an indisputable fact and that it has been severally thrown into limelight is not fallacious. But more often than not, similar results seem to be realized which is not far from absolute condemnations of home movies.Well, even though home movies do not deserve a clean bill of health in this very assessment, deeper reflections on this issue have revealed that Home movies as such is good-in-itself and there is no need to be oscillating between the ideal and the daily reality , the essence and the eccentricity, the use and the abuse.

Meanwhile, this piece will be stressed into unfolding the jealously guarded values of this technological discovery and more comprehensively, the untoldconsequences that are threatening the pure intention of the creator, such that there will be no doubt therefore to prove that man is the touch stone of the sterling contributions of home movies.

BEING AT HOME WITH THE KEY WORD:

There is no sense of incongruity in establishing that home movie is the welcome and unwelcome guest in every facet of modern life and more so, it is a house hold term. According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “Home movie” is a blanket term used for pre-recorded media that is either sold or hired for home entertainment. The term originates from the VHS/Betamax era but has carried over into current optical disc formats like DVD and Blu-ray Disc and, to a lesser extent, into methods of digital distribution such as Netflix”. With the above definition, it therefore became apparent that the above concept in this context includes all forms of graphic display programs irrespective of the source, provided they are meant for home entertainment. The home movie business distributes films, telemovies and television series in the form of videos in various formats to the public. These are bought or rented, then watched privately for the comfort of home by consumers. Most theatrically released films are now released on digital media, both optical (DVD and Blu-ray) and download-based, replacing the largely obsolete VHS (Video Home System) medium. In other words, DVDs are gradually gaining popularity even though VCD has not gone into extinction.

More still, it is believed that the ownership of the home video enables the user to dictate and select the entertainment material he wants and the time of exposure, which is not usual with normal television watching. At the same time, the viewer enjoys a privacy which is absent in the case of public TV or cinema. Other advantages of video include the ability to play back programs and the ability to replay action in slow motion. Due to these obvious characteristics, it therefore means that the home video has become a substitute for television. In fact, its trade has become big business. Rather than establish an independent programme outfit, it seems more lucrative to create a video duplicating service. In such a situation of high demand, the leniency of copyright enforcement agency is more pronounced especially in the urban areas where commercial video dubbing centers are all over the place. For a little fee of N30 any film on video can be dubbed for a patron. Already dubbed tapes are readily available for between N60 to N80 depending on the quality of the tape. Also video rental services are available at almost every street corner. Some centers provide such services to registered members only mostly youths.

 THE EARTH-SHATTERING EFFECTS OF HOME MOVIES:

With reference to the above clarification which stressed the unavoidable advantages of the home movies over the public TV, many non-working class especially children and the youth, have embraced video as a favourite source of entertainment and passing time. Generally speaking, home movie is an indispensable source of enlightenments and character formation for the growing individual as it creates a sense of exposure in them especially if they are properly guided.

But unfortunately, the youths seem to be taking undue advantage of the above mentioned characteristics of home video and have become addicted to the new technology. It is even worse that in the absence of Censors board to guide viewers, the growing youths become their own counselors, interpreting and misinterpreting the contents as they deem fit. A critical look at the content of most Home movie will disclose that the youth is harmed at each exposure. The issues are that most of their themes center on love, killings, rituals, witchcraft, and other vices. It is not that they are wrong in playing up those themes but there is always a tendency to overplay it without resolving the inherent moral conflicts in the movie that is the success story of a moral act.

More still, most of the black men in the movies are indeed caricatures of characters that repudiate Africaness and blackness and try to imitate the white man in speech, appearance and behaviour. Some of the films attempt to neither recreate any aspect of the African folklore nor emphasize any typically African values. It is even worse that success in the films is defined largely as accidental and irrational and there is excessive normlessness about the proper way to succeed in life. Most of the heroes and heroines indeed short-circuit the process of success, thereby making a mockery of honest labour. Even the alleged spiritual display of the nature of healing miracles has made the growing child to loose sense of the fundamental theology, about the Jesus of Calvary; who is not only concerned on miracles but practical response to the will of God.In the absence of this theological awareness, the youths develop what Rev. Dr. Eze called home video spirituality in his homily (Palm Sunday, April 2011). Above all, with the exception of few, all home movies project a pornographic display which eventually makes the contemporary youths to be lasciviously vicious. Perhaps, this is the cradle of the emergence of premarital sex, rape, incest, prostitution and other forms of sexual promiscuity.

HOPING TO BE HOMELY AGAIN:

From this backdrop, it will be very murky to maintain that home movies are homely. This is because one can confidently say that the unadulterated motives of the home movies have been gradually corrupted and the disgusting effects are relentlessly making optimistic inroads. Most youths are misguided, wallow and drawn in amorous activities, horrendous crimes and varied forms of violence just because of man’s modification of God’s wonderful creature for our moral well-being. Consequentially, these unwelcomed developments have threatened the socio-moral equilibrium of the society and annulled the conventional hospitality and morality which hitherto characterized our culture, thereby packaging the youths as social miscreants after drifting their memory into idle retrospection.

Far more importantly, the unresolved puzzle remains; who will dangle the axe on corrupt and depraved movie producers and distributors who have disrespected the ethical designs of the censors board due to their unsearchable quest for money? Who will cure the inherent moral ills that have shattered the youths by storm and who will rescue the future leaders that have been bedeviled and saddled with a myriad of social malaise? It is bizarre to hold that the youths have been traumatized but hopeful still only if men would heed to the demands of the creator and not on the pleasures of the things created, if only they would frown at using the creature with lust but rather temperance without despising the creator, and more significantly, if only they would realize the primeval moral code that engineered these technological advancements; a moral code that embraced chastity, character formation, civilization and the innumerable virtues of the human person.

Well, it is interesting to note that these hypothetical quests “if onlys” have become necessary, laying credence to the words of the St. Augustine; just as there is nothing wrong with the gold but the mixer, so also there is nothing from the onset, wrong with the home movies but the producers and distributors.

In conclusion, it is noteworthy that all stakeholders; parents, teachers, guidance and chancellors, catechists, including censors board, movie producers and distributors and all other concerned personalities, under whose aegis, these youths are formed should kindly adhere to this clarion call in an altruistic manner, so as to nip in the bud any inclination on their growing youths towards immorality and securing the indispensable wellness of the nation. It is only then that an enabling environment would be created for us to go back to the drawing board, the dreams of our forefathers, so that home movies will be homely once again, crisply educative and as well gratifying. Do not throw this caution to the wind!

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