Short but sweet. A fitting description for this beautifully constructed gem La Maison en Petits Cubes presents a simple story with a truly resonating effect. An elderly man lives a solitary life in his single room house completely surrounded by water. As the water level rises he is repeatedly forced to build additional layers. One day he accidentally drops his favourite smoking pipe. Diving into the depths of the lower levels of his home he relives memories of bygone days ultimately reemerging with these memories and as a changed man. 320 La Maison en Petits Cubes is only twelve minutes long yet in that short span of time it manages to create a heartwarming and emotionally stimulating story. We truly sympathise for the man secluded and labouring away with only a collection of family photos on the wall to keep him company. But as he dives down further and further the scenes from his past which are heartfelt by themselves form a narrative of his life. Bittersweet and filled with emotions they seem to reinvigorate the man breathing the life back into him. And that is the simple yet elegantly presented message of the story. Cherish these memories take them for what they are. You may never be able to relive them but as long as you have them with you that is reason enough to keep on going. 320 In the early stages of the film we see the man fishing through a trap door in the floor of his level. Perhaps he is searching for these memories for these moments to reignite his life. We only learn the bare minimums of the world the man lives in and the details of his life but that is all we need to know. Anything beyond what is presented would only weigh the film down and unnecessarily complicate things. Visually the film is seemingly a blend of watercolour and sketches. This is a unique and simple style that complements the story by invoking a more personal heartfelt or homely feel. Life is presented as a painting as art. And although this is arguably reductive in a sense it succeeds in capturing the sheer emotion and beauty that is the old mans life. The film makes great use of the orange/blue colour palette too and in quite a unique fashion. The soundtrack is equally simple yet appropriate consummating the mood and tone of the story beautifully. There is no dialogue and none is needed. 320 Although the story itself is unique the central theme and concept has definitely been addressed in a multitude of other works which given its simplicity is only to be expected. This by no mean detracts from the film and in the end it does just what it intended to do: present a simple yet heartwarming tale. Basic but graceful in design La Maison en Petits Cubes really tugs on the heartstrings resulting in a genuinely beautiful product. Having won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2009 the film really goes to show how complex plots and characters are not needed to construct an uplifting piece and that sometimes the most simple of things can have the most profound effects. At twelve minutes long there is no excuse not to watch this. You wont be disappointed.
80 /100
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