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Maison en Petits Cubes, La

Entry updated 3 May 2021. Tagged: Film.

Japanese short animated film (2008; vt The House of Small Cubes); original title Tsumiki no Ie. Robot Communications. Created and directed by Kunio Katō. Written by Kenya Hirata. 12 minutes. Colour.

An old man lives on the top floor of an otherwise submerged building; over the decades he has added several new floors as the waters continue to very slowly rise – though the floodwaters stretch to the horizon, an infrastructure exists that enables him to purchase materials. Wishing to recover a lost pipe, he buys and dons a diving suit offered for sale by a visiting boat; as he descends through the house's levels, each successive floor evokes older family memories until he reaches the ground floor and recalls the first meeting with his childhood sweetheart and now late wife.

In terms of genre, the film is probably best considered as sf bordering on Slipstream: the amount of flooding – a City has been drowned (see Disaster) – takes the story out of the mainstream, and there are no clear fantasy elements (the water levels could be the result of Climate Change), while some consideration has gone into the worldbuilding.

As may be expected, this short film's tone is steeped with a sense of loss; the animation's look is a muted pastel, which helps convey the poignant mood. Dialogue-free, it won a number of awards, including the 2008 Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. [SP]


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