Cinematic Time Machines
By James Grahame
I love watching old home movies, especially if they're shot in public spaces. It's like having a time machine that gives you an accurate idea of how people really dressed and behaved in decades past, without having to rely on faulty memories and movie cliches.
Joel Fletcher is a talented stop motion animator who worked on The Nightmare Before Christmas, Peter Jackson's King Kong, Pee Wee's Christmas Special and dozens of other films, TV shows and video games. In his spare time he made experimental films that offer tantalizing glimpses back in time.
People Patterns was shot in 1980 on Kodachrome Super 8 film. It's a simple series of time-lapse shots that paints pictures of everyday events on the University of Wisconsin campus and the Madison's downtown core. Countless amusing haircuts and odd clothing choices flit by over the course of almost four minutes.
Fast-forward ten years into the world of Mall Mania, as Joel captures a frenzied look at shopping in Los Angeles in 1989-1990. Shot on 16mm film.