Animated Short of the Week – The House of Small Cubes
The House of Small Cubes (2008)
Dir. Kunio Kato
Here’s a film for those who just couldn’t get enough of the first 10 minutes of Up. And if there’s anyone who thought that film would’ve been better if the old man should’ve just died lonely in his house, then here’s your dream project.
But that’s grossly oversimplifying the matter of course. The House of Small Cubes is in fact one of the finest animated shorts of the last decade, a truly visionary achievement in the form, one that subtly builds on its premise through patience and quiet wit, until revealing an often painful but extraordinary touching exploration of memory and nostalgia. Director Kunio Kato is exploring here what memories often become, a dream-like narrative that forgives any instances immediately surrounding the moment in question, while maintaining a particular attention to details often ignored in the process.
What really resonates about The House of Small Cubes is its protagonists’ reliance on looking forward, constantly building upwards, even if that means memories remain locked and buried for seemingly forever. It’s a complicated statement, because even though the beauty of recollections can be astounding, they also inevitably dig up painful images in equal measure, and one is left possibly feeling lonelier than ever before. The imagery of the memories depicted in this film are dependably beautiful, often a recurring trait amongst this particular brand of animated shorts, but they resonate much more given the juxtaposition with the images of loneliness, painted with the same delicate care as the “dream” sequences. It’s a stunning film, with a surprising amount of layers attached to its highly emotive exterior. It, much like the prologue of Up, manages to encapsulate and evoke what an entire life lived might feel like, through some of the pain, but much of the beauty. Enjoy.