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Written by: NA |   Directed by: Chris Esper |  Genre: Documentary

 Clips of new babies and birthday celebrations. Home movies of friends and family milling over a barbequed meal and all the fixings. Christmas, new years, and evening activities in front of an old TV. This is the imagery Chris Esper wants you to see and long for. Slower times fuelled by a simpler way of life. Yesteryear isn’t the same as your average documentary. The only speaking was captured by whatever recording device happened to be used. No interviews or animatics. This is straight up storytelling using only what happens to be laying around. Old footage, old tapes, and not a whole lot more.

 Even the standard three act structure is done away with. There was no linear nature for Yesteryear that I could see, nothing to separate the various clips except the occasional static burst meant to resemble the snow of an old TV. For all intents and purposes, Esper’s short film should have ended up just a mess of images with no meaning at all. But it didn’t. Yesteryear is near brilliant in what it delivers. A no nonsense heartfelt trip down memory lane. Even though it’s not your life you’re tripping down because somewhere, in all these moving images there is a connection. There is something most people will instantly relate to. Yesteryear is that catalyst, that instrument.

  The biggest take away for me is the fact that this movie reminded me of how big the world is, yet how small it can feel. Many of the values and practices demonstrated in this film, by strangers, is very similar to life when I was growing up. From large family gatherings that happened annually, to the joy of watching those old square TVs. It makes me wonder if a lot of those old practices were abandoned by everyone, or just me and my family? The big events, Christmas, New Years, we all still usually celebrate; but even they are different. There’s no videos anymore, unless you count the ones that go on social media. Home movies appear to be dead, and that’s sad.

 A little more than a trip down memory lane, Yesteryear is a window into how life used to be in general. People watching may feel a pang of sadness, even if they themselves never lived through those times. It feels like technology has cost everyone more than just a few trips to the park. But isn’t that the way of life? Give and take. Chris Esper has done a wonderful job of demonstrating that, and definitely helped pop’s case, because when he was only 8 years old, there were no computers, he had to use his fingers and…

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