I don’t think I’ve ever talked about a short film here. In college, we tend to do a lot of shorts because they are easier to produce with lower budgets. However, animation short films aren’t something many of us venture into. Since I just graduated and I’m going through the process of going back home, I thought it would be fitting to quickly talk about an animated short film I’ve watched on my first year of college that has inspired many of my works.
“The House of Small Cubes” (Tsumiki no ie is the original title) is a Japanese animation by director Kunio Kato, that won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film back in 2009. It follows an old man who lives in a town that is constantly flooded by water, forcing him to add new floors to his house. When he accidentally drops his smoking pipe down the lower levels of the house, he is taken on a trip back to his own past.
The first time I watched this short film, I cried like a baby for minutes after it was done. I thought this was only going to happen that one time, but as I re-watched it to write this review, I realized that this is a movie that has the ability to evoke different emotions depending on which moment of life you find yourself. The fact that it isn’t a spoken film makes it accessible to wider audiences, and also makes its message much more powerful.
Many people felt as if there were some kind of connection between the flooding and global warming, and while the creator might have wanted to make that point, I saw it as more of a metaphor of time and how it comes suddenly, whether you’re ready or not. Still, I think one of the great things about animation is how it makes it possible for a number of different interpretations depending on your experiences and views.
This is, by far, one of my favorite animations of all time, short film or not, and I definitely feel like it’s a must watch. Luckily, it’s available on YouTube right here. Trust me, if you have twelve minutes to spare, you’re not going to regret spending it on this short film. As usual, let me know your thoughts!
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