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Tsumiki no ie (The House of Small Cubes)

Posted by martinteller on March 20, 2013

In this 12-minute, wordless animated short we visit with an elderly man.  The world is apparently going through a continuous flood, and he has to keep building levels on his house to keep above water.  One day, he drops his beloved pipe down to one of the lower levels.  He buys scuba gear and goes to retrieve it… and is struck by a memory.  As he dives deeper into the flooded strata of his home, the memories come flooding back as well.

Again, I don’t know how this got on my watchlist.  I’m assuming someone recommended it or something.  It was Oscar-nominated, but that wouldn’t have meant anything to me, and I’m not at all familiar the director, Kunio Kato.  But I’m glad I saw it.  It’s a truly lovely and evocative piece, very melancholy and touching.  The tone and content will probably remind most viewers of the heartbreaking montage in Pixar’s Up, which came out afterwards (but are so close together I doubt there was any influence).  True to the film’s title — and the ad hoc way in which the protagonist has built up his house — the style is somewhat cubist, which the perspective often not quite right.  Quite beautiful, simple artwork and a gorgeous score.  Rating: Very Good (88)


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