At this point in the season, you probably feel like you need something to cut through the festive syrup.
I think we’re all a bit exhausted from the joy and goodwill for everyone and have developed a kind of intellectual diabetes from the happy stories of happy families that clog our screens throughout December.
What you need is a good palate cleanser – something bittersweet, something pungent, a little less saccharin. May I recommend the least Christmassy movie – and also the best movie – I’ve seen this year? After sunfor your viewing pleasure?
It’s an extraordinarily touching film about a little girl who goes on vacation with her father, framed by old video footage of the vacation for the adult version of the girl – now a parent herself – to watch decades later.
With its hot mix of sand, sea, sun and Paul Mescal sad with a Scottish accent, it’s fabulously uncelebratory. The only Christmas thing about it is the fact that it was filmed in Turkey.
Of course it’s all subjective and one of the reasons I liked the film so much was because there were parts I could relate to.
Not long before I saw After sunI decided to clean up the family computer’s hard drive.
Our trusty Mac, like me, is a bit on the rise now, and it’s also carrying a lot of extra digital weight – about two of the hard drive’s three terabytes have been occupied by family photos and videos.
I decided to start by deleting as many videos as possible, but similar to laying out newspapers before painting a room and ending up reading them all instead of painting, I looked at every single video.
Most of them were photographed by the kids and had this unique view of the world – sometimes there was a chubby finger over the lens or the lens was so greasy from that fat finger it blurred everything.
In squeaky little voices, they all bickered with each other behind and in front of the camera, like a Fisher Price version of an Errol Morris documentary. The videos were all incredibly cute, but my cameos in them left a bitter taste in my mouth.
My first thought when I showed up was, gosh, I’ve gained a lot of weight in the last 18 months.
The second thought as I went through the videos one by one was, gosh, I don’t look like I enjoy being a parent. I have a pained expression in so many videos and when I speak it’s all desperation, tired sighs and rolling eyes.
In a video shot in 2015, my oldest son, who was eight at the time, runs around trying to get my attention, repeating “Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad.” I’m standing at the computer and without even turning my head, I barely grunt as he tells me an amazing fact.
He keeps talking and I, obviously not listening, remain silent and stare at the screen.
As we went through the folder, there were more and more such videos, all shot from their low angle, and I, the big unfriendly giant, there but not there, distracted or removed.
I’ve checked all the dates the clips are from for an explanation and there have been things that have happened in my life that have caused me stress or heartache or heartache, but none of this gives a child any comfort or context.
All you know is that you sigh a lot or sometimes don’t answer or are lost in thought.
I ended up not deleting any videos. It felt like erasing evidence, so I just left it there and threw thousands of overexposed photos of sunsets and blurry night skies in the trash instead.
But it gave me a New Year’s resolution – to try to relax a little, to be present, to spend less time off the beaten path. To enjoy the ride, frown a little less and maybe try to lose some weight.
It’s either that or just stop the kids from using my camera.
https://www.independent.ie/life/family/parenting/watching-old-videos-my-kids-took-of-me-sighing-a-lot-was-an-eye-opener-so-my-new-years-resolution-is-to-frown-less-42247582.html Watching old videos my kids made of me sighing a lot was an eye opener — so my New Year’s resolution is to frown less