The House ★★★★½

So the other week at the library, I discovered a book called Filming For The Future. I got it out and discovered it was a book on a filmmaker I'd never heard of, Louis van Gasteren, that included 3 DVDs. So, what the hell.

I've watched only one of the films in full. Of the other two I've sampled, both are obsessed with reclaiming land from water in the Netherlands, a topic I can't say I'm as passionate about as van Gasteren. 1960's A NEW VILLAGE ON NEW LAND feels like a pretty straightforward information film of the time, while 1990's A MATTER OF LEVEL has some of what the kids are calling "vaporwave", postulating a computer interface to create a dialogue to explore the same topic. I didn't last ten minutes with either.

THE HOUSE (HET HUIL), however, is something entirely different. It's a half-hour short that jumps through time between the construction, usage, and demolition of a house, with very little dialogue but fragments of stories of its residents (and in the case of the Nazis, occupying forces) emerging.

And it blew me away. It seems like the sort of seminal short film that would be habitually shown in film classes, but it apparently has next to no reputation whatsoever (it only has 21 votes on IMDb). As such, I'm worried that I'm far too easily impressed and hyping up some obscure film y'all will find inconsequential. But the building of dramatic moments, only to literally rip them out from under us with diggers, never failed to move me, even when repeated in a few different ways. I imagine my lack of Dutch history means I'm missing a bit, but regardless, it still resonates.