A House Made of Splinters

A House Made of Splinters ★★★

The war in Eastern Ukraine does not need to be seen to be felt. The aftermath is destructive enough to make visible the ongoing war left offscreen, where what we do see brings us into a shelter for children who've been either neglected or abandoned as the war rages outside. Their country has been crippled, their cities have been bombed, and their parents have turned to alcohol to deal with war-related PTSD and other fragile hardships. "Life has always been bad here, but the war has made things even worse," says one of the social workers at the rehab center. 

An all around hell for those living in Ukrainian society, but here at the Lysychansk shelter in Eastern Ukraine, these deserted kids are given warm beds and six meals a day. It is a temporary safe space for them to live in, to smile in, to laugh and play together in. Amidst fleeting moments of joy, these kids will anxiously wait in limbo for nine months to learn where they will be relocated, whether with a relative, a foster family, an orphanage, or even back with their own parents, should they manage to sober up and stabilize themselves. This is a quiet little film with a largely observational approach, capturing life at its most innocent but also showing how quickly children are forced to grow up. It becomes a little repetitive at times, a little perfunctory, but I admired its beauty and small moments of uplift despite the heartbreaking world it depicts. 

Watched at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival

Block or Report

BrandonHabes liked this review