The House
(A Casa)

Screening on Film
Directed by Sharunas Bartas.
With Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Leos Carax, Micaela Cardoso.
France/Portugal/Lithuania, 1997, 35mm, color, 120 min.
French and Lithuanian with English subtitles.

A dreamy, silken parable of the fate of late twentieth-century Europe, The House is an almost entirely wordless exploration of a single space: an imposing country manor by a lake that may possibly be the fantasy of one of the many diverse and melancholic inhabitants we encounter there. Punctuated by a pair of narrators who speak to an unseen mother, the film trains its lush, silent gaze on room after room filled with startling tableaux vivants, where the speechless characters—young and old, beautiful and ugly, black and white—carry on with their strange, hermetic habits, each struggling, like a separate country, to communicate with the others. A plea for the preservation of local cultures, this cinematic reverie in pale colors is a contemplation of the modern Lithuanian condition.

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