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Lost in Light is a videoblog about small gauge filmmaking featuring weekly posts of home movies, work by artists, articles by preservationists and film scholars, video tutorials and other film gems.

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The Belly Button Film

click image to play video in Flash | Quicktime

This film has been a cult classic in my family for years. I still find it one of the most bizarre movies ever.

It’s also an example of one of those films that randomly ends up in a family’s possession and loses all trace of its original owner, but somehow remains intact over the years, now passed on to the next generation. This film comes from an unspecified date in the 1960s, courtesy of my mom, Kate. Here’s what she has to say:

I met this filmmaker/photographer years ago at the San Francisco Zoo. You know the deal, through a friend of a friend of a friend. He called me for a date or two or three. Coincidentally, I was enrolled in a film class at the local junior college and our final assignment was to make a Super 8 film. Did I know one iota about making a film? No. Did I really like this guy? Well, er, no. Did he offer to give me his Belly Button film for my final project? Of course.

We had planned a long hike and he brought me the film before we left. During the hike he made his designs known to me. Desperate for a solution to his amorous intentions I introduced him to a Bay Leaf Trip, promising him a high of all highs. I picked a handful of bay leaves, crushing and rolling them in my hands until the oil was released. I told him to take three big whiffs. Within moments, his sinuses were blown out, his eyes tearing, and the sneezes kept on coming. Problem solved!

I showed my film to the class. The instructor LOVED it, asked how I made it ( I made up something) and wanted me to enter it in a Film Contest. I had to say no, since I was, well, shy.

I never saw the bay leaf filmmaker again. I hear he is quite a famous photographer in SF.

Unfortunately, the filmmaker’s name has been lost. But his navel lives on.

–Jen