Three red sweaters

10 minutes

Do we need our memories when we can document virtually every aspect of our lives?

Grainy 8mm and 16mm film now tends to evoke nostalgia but, in the decades before digital cameras, home movies were the only immediate way to visually document the present. The US filmmaker Martha Gregory makes wonderful use of her family’s trove of home movies, shot by her grandfather Charles from the 1950s to the 1970s, to craft her short documentary Three Red Sweaters and ask what happens to memories when we document our lives. Charles’s amateur filmmaking was mostly for his own enjoyment – and occasionally a means of social avoidance – but his sharp eye yielded lovely images of daily life, family vacations and children growing up. This archive of a life of comfort and means in the San Francisco area is set to present-day conversations with Gregory’s mother and grandfather, in which she ponders whether ‘photographs and film help us remember the past or remove us from it’. 

Director: Martha Gregory

Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter Sign up
Follow us on
Facebook
Like

‘Every morning I look forward to seeing what’s in your email and there isn’t a day that goes by without reading or watching something you guys have published.

It’s like an oasis of sanity in a world gone mad.’

Jack D, USA, Friend of Aeon

‘I believe it’s increasingly important to support accessible scholarship and aspirational ideas.

Thinking people can no longer afford to be alone.’

Christine T, USA, Friend of Aeon

‘Aeon’s combination of intelligence, integrity and flair is vanishingly rare – and I am very grateful for it. It is becoming an indispensable presence in the digital world for those who believe that ideas matter.’

Tom Chatfield, writer and commentator on digital culture

‘Aeon is my favourite online magazine.

I have found no other place that so regularly provides interesting, clear and informative articles across academic disciplines on topics that matter.’

Dr Robert J. Hartman, University of Gothenburg

‘Aeon is consistently the place to find excellent, provocative and thoughtful writing.

One of my favourite places to find new writers and new ideas.’

Professor Sophie Kerttu Scott, University College London

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.
But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Essay/
Mood & Emotion
The myth of ‘mad’ genius

The Romantic stereotype that creativity is enhanced by a mood disorder is dangerous, and dissolves under careful scrutiny

Christa L Taylor

Essay/
Cognition & Intelligence
Gesture talks

Across vast cultural divides people can understand one another through gesture. Does that make it a universal language?

Kensy Cooperrider